Warriors' late surge too much for Suns
On the Warriors’ first four trips down the court Stephen Curry had two points and two assists and went on to finish with 29 points and eight assists. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Stephen Curry sat at his locker before Saturday’s 113-93 win against Phoenix and quietly spoke about the condition of his sprained right ankle.
His take: there is no condition.
"If I’m going to play, I’m going to play. I don't think there are any limitations," Curry said. "Probably in (coach Mark Jackson's) head, but not mine."
His play backed it up.
Curry wasted no time getting involved from the tip. On the Warriors’ first four trips down the court he had two points and two assists and went on to finish with 29 points and eight assists as Golden State (30-17) improved to 13 games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season.
The decision to play Curry wasn’t something Jackson took lightly. After watching Curry at the morning shootaround and in warm ups at Oracle Arena, it still took some convincing from Curry to get himself into the lineup.
“He was pleading to play,” Jackson said. “Just wanted to use wisdom and wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do. The worst thing to do is rush him out there and we have something else to deal with.”
A father of four, Jackson likened Curry’s lobbying to play to something he’d see from one of his kids. “I got to tell you the truth, it works,” Jackson said. “I won’t tell him, but it works. There’s a soft spot. I just want him to be truthful with me and he’s been truthful.”
Curry connected on 6-of-10 three-point attempts as he fell three points shy of his season-high (32).
The game marked the sixth time this season Jackson started the lineup the team was built to field: Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut.
“We’re a different basketball team with those guys on the floor,” Jackson said. “Offensively, defensively, it puts everyone in their proper rotational spot, but when you start to type the lineup we start, we have every right to believe we can win any ballgame we play in."
Any theory that insisted Bogut’s return would affect the team’s chemistry has been proved wrong.
Saturday’s win marked the first time in franchise history four players had at least seven assists in the same game -- Curry 8, Thompson 7, Lee 7, Jack 7.
“To have everyone on the court active and ready to play, this is what the front office envision going into the season,” Curry said. “We’ve got to take advantage of it, and especially with the cushion that we just built we have to keep building.”
It did, however, take awhile for the Warriors to get going against Phoenix.
They trailed by as many as ten early in the second half, but an 11-0 run made it 59-58 at the 7:28 mark in the third quarter after Curry completed an and-one following a drive the basket.
The play prompted Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter to call time out, but it didn’t do much to quell the Warriors’ momentum.
Golden State extended its lead to 78-68 over the next 5:25 resulting in another time out from Hunter. By that point, it was clear it was clear the Warriors found their rhythm on offense and were on their way to a one-sided win.
All five starters finished with double-digit scoring nights and Barnes tied his career high with 21 points.
“I don’t think enough credit has been given to (Barnes),” Jackson said. “He’s a rookie starting at the small-forward position, one of the toughest positions to play in this league and he’s played a huge role in us being 13 games over .500.”
Bogut, playing in consecutive games for the first time since early in the season, scored 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
The Suns led 52-48 at halftime as the Warriors struggled to find an answer for Michael Beasley, who had 15 first-half points to compliment Goran Dragic’s 10. The Warriors did a better job defending both players in the second half -- Beasley finished with 24 points and
“We didn’t play our brand of basketball (in the first half), but give them credit,” Jackson said. “Lindsey Hunter is doing a very good job with that basketball team. It’s great to see. I was in that position: short-handed, not enough talent.”
The Warriors improved to 22-5 this year when holding opponents to under .450 percent.
If you win, they will come
The Warriors logged their 13th consecutive sellout at Oracle Arena Saturday, the longest such streak since the 1997-98 season.
It’s also the longest streak since the capacity was increased from 15,025 to 19,596 15 years ago. Before the capacity increase, Golden State sold out 301 straight games from March 1989 until the end of the 1995-96 season.
Social Media Night
Saturday’s Warriors promotion was “Social Media Night,” which included a “texting-gloves giveaway” and a chance to attend a postgame question and answer session with Jarrett Jack by checking into the arena on Facebook.
Before the team’s official warm-up period, the team also wore shooting shirts with their Twitter handles in place of their last names on the back. Klay Thompson and Andris Biedrins are the lone Warriors not on Twitter -- Thompson wore Brandon Rush’s shooting shirt instead.
Even Mark Jackson aka @JacksonMark13 got in on the promotion:
— Kyle Bonagura (@KyleBonagura) February 3, 2013
#WarriorsTalk Tweet of the Game
After a nifty behind-the-back pass from Andrew Bogut:
— Brandon Weaver (@bkweav) February 3, 2013
Next Up – Houston
Golden State will begin a four-game road trip starting with Houston on Tuesday. The trip includes four games – Oklahoma City (Wednesday), Memphis (Friday) and Dallas (Saturday) – before the Warriors return home for a rematch against the Rockets on Feb. 12, which leads into the weeklong All-Star break.
Golden State moved within a half-game of idle Memphis and remains in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings, a half-game ahead of Denver. … Current No. 8 seed Houston was a 109-95 winner at home against Charlotte.