Warriors

What we learned as Warriors stun Suns, sweep West's best

Warriors
Andrew Wiggins dunking

Heading into the Warriors' back-to-backs against the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns, there was a mentality that if they could snag just one win they'd be OK. But two wins? It was unlikely, yet that's what happened as they beat Phoenix 119-116 on Tuesday.

To make their back-to-back wins more impressive, the Warriors did it shooting just 11-of-40 from 3-point range against the Suns. 

Led by Andrew Wiggins' 38 points, the Warriors tried to force their way inside to stay in the game. Steph Curry had 21 points while Jordan Poole added 20, Kent Bazemore finished with 17, Juan Toscano-Anderson chipped in 10 and Draymond Green had 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Then, the threes finally started to fall when they mattered most. The Warriors knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers to get within three, tie the game, and then take the lead. 

The Warriors (37-33) now are 4-0 on their six-game homestand so far and sit half a game above the Memphis Grizzlies (36-33) for the eighth spot in the West.

Here are three observations.

Andrew Wiggins was the hero

On a night where every Warrior had to fight and grind for any kind of basket, Wiggins was a consistent scoring presence. 

He shot 10-of-13 from the floor in the first half, while the rest of the team was 15-for-37, and was the main reason why Golden State trailed by just eight at halftime. 

Wiggins kept it up through the second half as well, finishing the game with 38 points on 17-of-23 shooting, and keeping the Warriors within striking distance for the majority of the night. But he needed help to complete the final punch, and he got it.

 

Wiggins put together his strong performance -- just his latest in his iron man season in Golden State -- by using all of the tools in his arsenal -- knocking down mid-range shots and driving and finishing at the hoop. 

Surviving the non-Steph minutes

It's not often that Curry struggles to knock down 3-point shots. It's even rarer for him to struggle in consecutive games. 

But that's what happened during the Warriors' back-to-back games against the Jazz and Suns, with Curry going just 1-of-11 from three on Tuesday night. 

But the Warriors stayed competitive in both games during Curry's streaky shooting because of their bench and support players.

After struggling for the majority of the season to hold onto leads when Curry is on the bench, the Warriors have found something over the last few weeks, and it's been particularly apparent in the last two games. 

After his 20-point game against Utah on Monday, Poole put up another 20 against the Suns, while Toscano-Anderson provided defensive aggression against Devin Booker and Torrey Craig while chipping in on offense as well.

Fatigue is apparent

The Warriors were on the second night of a back-to-back against the top two teams in the Western Conference with an eight-man rotation, and they played like it. 

Golden State looks out of it early on, committing sloppy turnovers and missing wide-open shots. 

To make it worse, the Suns were clicking on all cylinders as the Warriors were still getting into their groove. The Suns, who were washing the bad taste left in their mouth from their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers two nights prior, went 10-of-18 from beyond the 3-point line in the first half, with Jae Crowder knocking down half of them.

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The Warriors got a burst of energy in the second quarter and managed to close a once 16-point deficit to single digits, and had another timely energy bump on the fourth quarter, knocking down two clutch 3-pointers to take a three-point lead with 1:43 to go. 

But even with those big-time shots, the Warriors are thankful they have two days before their next game.