Phoenix Suns

NBA-worst Suns present the perfect tonic for stumbling Warriors

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AP

NBA-worst Suns present the perfect tonic for stumbling Warriors

While the Warriors this season have had four two-game losing streaks, they’ve had only one that reached three. They’ll try to avoid a second occurrence when they face the Suns on Sunday in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock, with tipoff from Talking Stick Resort Arena scheduled for 6:10.

In losing back-to-back games, the Warriors (57-23) allowed 126 points in each, an absurdly high number for a team that needs top-shelf defense to succeed in the absence of Stephen Curry. The good news is over three games they’ve allowed an average of 99.7 points to Phoenix while scoring an average score of 123.3.

The Suns (20-60) have won only twice over the past since January, going 2-26 during that span, and clearly have been using the last half of the season to evaluate young players and position themselves for the June draft.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 13

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Kevin Durant vs. Josh Jackson: Durant was fantastic on offense Saturday in the 126-120 loss to New Orleans, scoring 41 points, 30 of which came in the second half. Jackson, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft, has averaged 21.8 ppg over his last 12 games -- and 58 in his last two against the Warriors. Though either Draymond Green or Durant could match up against either Dragan Bender or Jackson, the Durant-Jackson clash is most intriguing.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: G Shaun Livingston (R knee soreness) is available to play. F/G Andre Iguodala (L knee soreness), G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbosacral bone bruise) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain), C/F Marquese Chriss (L hip pain), G Troy Daniels (R ankle sprain), F Josh Jackson (R quad contusion), G Elfrid Payton (L knee tendinopathy), F T.J. Warren (L knee inflammation) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL surgery) and F/C Alan Williams (R knee soreness) are listed as out.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 4-6. Suns: 1-9.

GAME OFFICIALS:
Marc Davis (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors won the first three meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 in Oakland, 124-109 on March 17 in Phoenix and 117-107 on April 1 in Oakland. The Warriors swept four games last season and have won the last 14 meetings and are 14-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
FINDING DEFENSE: Since playing fabulous defense Tuesday in Oklahoma City, the Warriors were a mess in the next two games, allowing 252 points, more than in any two-game stretch in 326 regular-season games under Steve Kerr. If the final two games are about building habits ahead of the playoffs, this is the perfect matchup.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee or Zaza Pachulia has started 20 of 22 games since the All-Star break. Neither played minute Saturday night. Kevon Looney started, playing 28 minutes. Damian Jones played five minutes and David West 13. Kerr has said for weeks that he’ll rotate his centers. He’s living up to that pledge.

JORDAN BELL: He played only five minutes Saturday and did not look good, totaling one free throw and one rebound while committing two turnovers. The Warriors are eager to see a breakout game from the forward/center who had an impressive start to his rookie season because they want him to play an important role in the playoffs.

Warriors seek return to normalcy with Suns in town

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USATSI

Warriors seek return to normalcy with Suns in town

OAKLAND -- After a long night in Sacramento, with Pat McCaw being hospitalized, the Warriors will turn their focus back to basketball Sunday when Phoenix Suns visit Oracle Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30, with tipoff scheduled for 5:35.

Though the Warriors (55-21) beat the Kings on Saturday, with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combining for 52 points, they were reeling from the sight of McCaw taking a hard fall in the third quarter, being stabilized on a stretcher and taken to UC Davis Medical Center. The positive news is that he has passed all tests as of Sunday morning.

The Suns (19-58) are in all-out tank mode, having lost 14 games in a row, eight by double digits.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 14

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. Josh Jackson: When last the teams met, Jackson scored a career-high 36 points and Durant was on the injury report. He’s back and no doubt he took note of Jackson’s work two weeks ago. Jackson has scored at least 15 points in nine consecutive games. Durant is a four-time scoring champ averaging 26.6 ppg. This shapes up as a professor-student game within the game.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain), F/G Andre Iguodala (L knee soreness) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain), F Jared Dudley (L ankle soreness) and G Elfrid Payton (L knee tendinopathy) are listed as questionable. C Alex Len (L ankle sprain), F T.J. Warren (L knee inflammation) and G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear rehab) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 4-6.

Suns: 0-10

GAME OFFICIALS

Zach Zarba (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Leon Wood

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first two of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 in Oakland and 124-109 on March 17 at Phoenix. The Warriors swept all four games last season and are 13-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

SPOTLIGHT ON NICK: With McCaw out indefinitely, the Warriors are going to need production out of Nick Young. He has been more down than up lately with his shot and his defense has been spotty at best. McCaw had gained the edge between the two, so Young has another opportunity to show he’s tuning up for the postseason.

KERR MOVING UP: Steve Kerr has 262 wins as Warriors coach, putting him in fourth place on the all-time franchise list for victories. A win over the Suns in would put him into a tie with Eddie Gottlieb (1946-55) for third place, behind only Alvin Attles (557) and Don Nelson (422).

MILESTONE AWAITS KLAY: Klay Thompson has made 1,537 3-pointers in his career, leaving him six away from moving into 25th place on the all-time list. The man in front of him is the popular former Warriors guard Tim Hardaway (1,542). In 24th place, at 1,542 is former Lakers and Heat guard Eddie Jones.

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

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USATSI

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 3

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.

GAME OFFICIALS

Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.