Bogut: 'We knew it was going to be a tough battle'
Andrew Bogut played a season-high 29 minutes in the Warriors' win over Phoenix Wednesday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Behind a balanced effort, the Golden State Warriors put an end to their six-game losing streak with a 108-98 win against Phoenix Wednesday at Oracle Arena.
Klay Thompson, unfazed by trade rumors earlier in the day that had him headed out of town, scored 28 points to lead all scorers on a night 10,000 bobbleheads of his likeness were distributed to the home crowd.
“I was very inspired. They did a great job on it,” Thompson said. “That’s crazy, I’ve got a bobblehead now. It’s kind of a pinch yourself moment. I used to collect bobbleheads, especially the baseball ones, when I was a kid.”
Thompson said he does his best to avoid hearing the trade rumors that circulate with Thursday’s deadline looming.
“Whether I’m in a Golden State uniform or somewhere else,” he said. “Love being here. I feel like I belong here, but I’m just going to play as hard as I can.”
He scored 21 of his points in the first half to get Golden State (31-23) off and running, but seemingly everyone played a role down the stretch as the Warriors fended off a determined Suns effort.
“It’s a big-time relief,” coach Mark Jackson said.
Must-win games in February are hyperbole, but as the Warriors carried a six-game losing streak into the meeting with the Western Conference’s worst team, Wednesday was about as close as it gets.
Before the game he called it the team’s biggest of the year -- and considering it precedes a game against San Antonio, which is followed by a five-game road trip, there was a lot of truth in that statement.
“I talked about it being the biggest game of the season for us and I loved the way my guys came out and sent the message to say that’s exactly what it was,” Jackson said. “It was important for me, I had my daughter and my sister fly in -- we needed reinforcements.”
The win prevented what more than likely would have turned into an eight-game losing streak -- not exactly ideal momentum headed into a road trip -- and at least temporarily scabbed the bleeding.
Jackson alluded to mixing things up following the team’s loss to Utah on Tuesday, but kept the same starting five.
“(Changing the lineup) never entered my mind anyway,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. One thing I did say is that there will be a shorter leash.”
If there was a shorter leash, he certainly didn’t use it. He didn’t need to.
Andrew Bogut played as many minutes in the first half (15) as he did all game against Utah and looked like the player the organization envisioned when it acquired him. He was active on both ends of the court as a shot blocker (3 blocks) and passer (5 assists) and finished with 11 rebounds. He finished with season-high 29 minutes.
“I thought he responded very well,” Jackson said. “Make no mistake about it he didn’t play up to par (against Utah) -- he owned it. The big-time players bounce back.”
Bogut said he didn’t quite have his legs Wednesday and was looking to pass more than usual.
“He’s trying to find his rhythm in the post and that’s an area he’d like to attack, but he’s blocking shots and rebounding,” said Stephen Curry, who finished with 20 points. “The way he’s shooting the ball and having beautiful assists, cutting to the basket and the chemistry between him and David (Lee) as well, he’s a good outlet to have.”
Lee, the NBA’s only player averaging at least 19 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and his league-leading 34th double-double of the season.
Thompson hit his first six shots -- two from deep -- and had 14 points by the end of the first quarter. His hot start keyed an explosive opening quarter for Golden State, which was 14-of-19 from the field as it took a 33-26 lead.
Following his torrid start, Thompson was 4-of-12 the rest of the way.
After Golden State led by as many as 11, the Suns cut the deficit to 68-67 with 6:14 left in the third quarter, which prompted a time out from Jackson. An 11-4 Warriors run followed to keep the Warriors comfortably in front.
A three from Jarrett Jack in the corner with 6:39 in the game put Golden State up 94-84, but a 6-0 run by Phoenix over the next 2:22 kept things interesting. After that, it was all Warriors as they closed out the game.
“I thought my guys were a little tired (at that point),” Jackson said. “They put forth a lot of energy on both sides of the ball – you can forget how to win it’s been so long. I just want to remind them that we needed to execute and we had to pay attention to details and bring this thing home.”
Goran Dragic led Phoenix (18-37) with 20 points, while Jermaine O’Neal added 17 off the bench.
#WarriorsTalk Tweet of the Game
Warriors came out with a lot of energy tonight! #warriorstalk— Jeff Peeters (@GetxJeffreakOn) February 21, 2013
Next Up – San Antonio
One of professional sports’ most lopsided series -- at least recently – is renewed Friday at Oracle. San Antonio (43-12) has won the last 16 against Golden State and the last seven in Oakland dating back to a 130-121 Warriors win on Jan. 7, 2008. The Spurs have won 15 of their last 16 games, but have a game at the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday before making their way up to the Bay Area.
Rockets 122, Thunder 119: James Harden scored a career-high 46 points against his former team. The Rockets remain in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff picture, two games behind Golden State. … Grizzlies 88, Raptors 82: Memphis extended its winning streak to five games behind 17 points and 11 rebounds from Zach Randolph.