Suns Strokes: Josh Jackson’s big night not enough as Suns fall to Warriors
PHOENIX — No Stephen Curry. No Kevin Durant. No Klay Thompson. No problem for the Golden State Warriors, who still had one healthy all-star.
Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double and the Warriors handed the Phoenix Suns their eighth straight loss, and ninth in a row at home, 124-109, in front of a sold-out crowd at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday.
Green had 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Quinn Cook set a career-high with 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
The Warriors (53-17) placed seven players in double figures.
The Suns (19-52) had four players reach double-digits led by Josh Jackson, who finished with a career-high 36 points. Troy Daniels added 18, Elfrid Payton 11 and Marquese Chriss 10.
Devin Booker did not play due to a right hand sprain.
Despite their leading scorer on the bench, the Suns had a 15-point lead, 50-35, on the Warriors after a 30-9 run spanning the first and second quarters.
The game, though, turned in the third quarter.
Behind Green and Cook, the Warriors, playing the second game of a back-to-back, outscored the Suns 42-25 coming out of the locker room and 72-49 overall in the second half to secure their 13th consecutive win against the Suns, extending their longest streak in series history.
The silver lining for the Suns, who have now dropped 23 of 25, is that they now own the worst record in the NBA after Memphis won earlier, snapping their 19-game losing streak.
Twice in the first quarter the Suns had scoring runs of 10+ points. A 12-0 run early was keyed by Daniels, who made two 3-pointers and a lay-up; the latter of which put the Suns up 12-6 at the 8:17 mark. Later, Jackson scored eight straight points — a 3-pointer, fastbreak lay-up and 3-point play — in the midst of an 11-0 run that handed the Suns a 31-26 lead at the 1:07 mark. Daniels finished the quarter with 11 points and Jackson 13.
Coming off the bench apparently agrees with Jackson. He added seven more points in the second quarter, giving him a game-high 20 at halftime. His season/career-high is 29. Jackson was 8-of-12 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the foul line to reach double-digits in scoring for a third straight game. In addition, he had four rebounds and one steal in his 17 first-half minutes. Jackson has now come off the bench in 42 of 68 games.
Though it came in a loss, Jackson had his best game as a professional. He shot 14-of-23 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3-point range and 6-of-8 from the foul line to add up to 36 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists, two steals and one blocked shot in 36 minutes. It’s the sixth-highest point total ever by a Suns rookie and the highest ever in a home game. Among NBA rookies this season, it was the fourth-highest scoring game.
Of the Warriors’ 30 first-quarter points, the Cook-Nick Young backcourt combined for 19. They hit back-to-back 3s to put the visitors up 26-20 at the 3:50 mark of the period. It was their largest lead of the quarter. Cook shot 3-of-5 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, for eight points, while Young went 4-of-7 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, for 11 points.
What was once a 15-point lead was trimmed to eight as the Suns went cold for a stretch in the second quarter. They missed nine straight field goal attempts, going more than four minutes (4:29 to be exact) without a made basket. Jackson ended the drought, making a lay-up which put the Suns back in front by double-digits, 54-44, at the 2:23 mark of the period.
After an eight-point first half, Cook exploded for 16 in the third quarter. He made a trio of 3-pointers, including back-to-back from deep that punctuated a 29-7 run that put the Warriors back in front 86-74 at the 3:34 mark of the period. Cook was perfect from the field, making all six of his field goal attempts in the Warriors’ 42-point quarter, tied for the most allowed in a third quarter this season by the Suns.
With 5:19 left to go in the game, and the Suns trailing by 15, Jared Dudley entered for T.J. Warren. Following the game, it was announced Warren had suffered a sprained left knee. Officially, his status is day-to-day. Warren is the Suns’ second-leading scorer. He finished with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer, in 30 minutes.
STAT OF THE GAME, part I
13-of-31: The Warriors made 41.9 percent of their 3s, including a season-best five by Green
STAT OF THE GAME, part II
31: The Warriors converted 19 Suns turnovers into 31 points while the Suns scored 15 points off 15 Golden State turnovers
HE SAID IT
“We lost Cook a couple of times and he hit 3s and Draymond’s going to stretch the floor a little bit. You know, we didn’t expect him to shoot 50-percent from the 3s. That’s not what he does during the year,” interim head coach Jay Triano said. “But, I think we lost Cook a couple of times and that just accelerated it but you know, we also struggled to score a little bit as well. We can’t give up the 3-point shot and we knew that going in, that was the whole focus of our game.”
Jackson’s 36 points were the most by a Suns reserve since Rodney Rogers had 36 on Feb. 15, 2000.
Daniels is now averaging 10.7 points in six starts this season and 17.5 points over his past two starts.
The Suns started their 29th different lineup of the season using Payton-Daniels-Warren-Bender-Len.
The Suns dropped to 11-14 on Saint Patrick’s Day, and they have now lost six straight on the holiday.
Booker did not play for the second time in the last four games; he has missed 17 games this season.
Tyson Chandler was inactive for the second straight game; he has not played in the last three games.
A stretch of two straight and three of four games at home ends with a matchup against Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, March 20. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
This wraps up the season series.
The Pistons won the first meeting, the Suns’ first game at Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena, 131-107 on Nov. 29. Reggie Jackson had a season-high 23 points, while Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris each scored 20. The Pistons shot 53.7 percent from the field, including 13-of-28 from 3-point range.
Overall, the Suns have won 10 of the last 18 in the series.