SAN FRANCSICO (AP)The Golden State Warriors were tired of losing to the division-rival Suns this season and set their mind on defending against Phoenix just as they did against the talented Bucks last game.
Klay Thompson scored 33 of his 38 points in the first half, Stephen Curry added 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and the Warriors beat the Suns 123-112 on Monday night.
“There’s always a little bit of extra motivation when you got smacked a couple times against a certain team but it’s more so about our own focus,” Curry said.
Thompson made eight 3-pointers and shot 14 of 23 overall.
“We knew how big a game it was and Klay knew how big it was and came out and set the tone,” coach Steve Kerr said.
Jordan Poole had 20 points and six assists off the bench for the defending champions. Kevon Looney helped the Warriors win their eighth straight home game and 12th of 13 with nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Golden State is 29-7 at home but 7-26 on the road.
Devin Booker scored 32 points and Deandre Ayton had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who roared back after halftime to make it interesting.
Josh Okogie’s 3 with 4:59 left in the third pulled Phoenix within 85-81 and his putback a minute later made it 87-84 before Curry and Co. came on again.
Things got heated in the closing minutes when JaMychal Green and ex-Warriors guard Damion Lee received a double technical with 1:12 left. Curry’s mom, Sonya, hopped out of her seat and became emotional yelling and making sure son-in-law Lee was OK.
“That was like old-school AAU back in the day where parents get involved,” Curry said. “Family over everything at times.”
Kevin Durant again missed facing his former team with fans present in San Francisco, sitting out a third straight game for the Suns because of a sprained left ankle. Golden State’s Chase Center crowd has still not been able to acknowledge the star who led the Warriors to a pair of titles and captured NBA Finals MVP honors in 2017 and ’18.
Durant played for Brooklyn at Chase Center in February 2021 during the pandemic period when no spectators were allowed.
“It’s nuts. It’s insane,” Kerr said of Durant not yet being greeted by the San Francisco crowd.
Chris Paul contributed 11 points and 11 assists for Phoenix, coming off a 128-119 loss to division-leading Sacramento at home Saturday that snapped a four-game winning streak.
The Suns won the previous four meetings with Golden State, including three straight in the season series, missing a chance to sweep all four matchups for the first time since 2010-11.
“Every game now is critical,” Kerr said.
Draymond Green played 30 minutes and delivered a timely two-handed slam early in the fourth after rolling his right ankle during Saturday’s overtime win against the Bucks. He had three blocks and a pair of steals to go with six rebounds, four points and four assists.
Golden State went ahead 43-21 after shooting 72.7% in the first quarter with Thompson and Curry shooting a combined 7 of 9 on 3s.
Phoenix fell behind in a hurry to the hot-shooting Warriors, who raced ahead 29-12 before a Suns timeout with 3:21 left in the first. JaMychal Green scored seven points in the period.
“Their shot-making in the first quarter in general put us in the hole,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “There were a few breakdowns because of their pace but I didn’t think it was a failing grade.”
Suns: Ayton has consecutive double-doubles. … Other than Booker beginning 3 of 5, the rest of the Suns shot 5 for 16 in the cold opening period. The Warriors scored eight points off six Phoenix turnovers. … The Suns lost for the first time in five road games vs. the Pacific Division.
Warriors: G Gary Payton II, acquired from Portland at last month’s trade deadline but yet to play in his return to the Warriors, was re-evaluated and shown to be making progress from a right thigh injury stemming from offseason core muscle surgery. He has begun on-court work and will continue to do more in the coming days with another evaluation set for 10 days. “There’s definitely hope and optimism that he’ll be able to play at some point,” Kerr said. … F Andrew Wiggins missed his 12th straight game dealing with a family matter. … F Jonathan Kuminga was out a third straight game with a sprained right ankle. … G Lester Quinones’ 10-day contract expired Sunday but Kerr expects a decision on his status soon.
Suns: Host the Bucks on Tuesday night to complete.
Warriors: Open a five-game trip at the Clippers on Wednesday night, trying to end an eight-game road skid.
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