Over the course of the last week, the Phoenix Suns have had a love-hate relationship with the third quarter.
Tuesday night, the Suns lost an 11-point advance, as the Clippers reeled off a 37-18 in the 12 minutes directly following halftime. The 19-point turnaround paved the way to a 104-96 victory.
Thursday night, Phoenix flipped the script. Gerald Green scored 25 points in the third quarter, and the Suns erased a 15-point deficit en route to a thrilling 128-122 win.
But a few days off apparently caused the Suns to revert back to old habits. Despite holding a 61-56 lead heading into halftime Sunday, Jeff Hornacek’s squad couldn’t hold off the surging Golden State Warriors.
Klay Thompson and the Warriors outscored the Suns by 21 points (38-17) in the third quarter and held off a late rally in a 113-107 triumph at Oracle Arena.
Here’s a look back at the six-point loss by the numbers:
Alex Len made his third consecutive start but made very little impact on the outcome. The first-year center had three points but didn’t take a single shot from the field. He played 15 total minutes on the night.
The loss was especially painful for the Suns, because it put some distance between them and the Warriors in the Western Conference standings. With the win, Golden State moved three games ahead of Phoenix in the playoff race. While the Warriors’ currently hold the sixth spot, the Suns find themselves tied for eighth with the Grizzlies.
Defense continues to be a major issue for the Hornacek and Co. The Suns yielded 100 points or more for the eighth consecutive games — the longest streak of the 2013-14. Of those eight games, opponents have scored over 110 in five of them.
After P.J. Tucker knocked down a jumper with 7:52 to go in the third quarter, the wheels began to fall off for Phoenix. Over the next five minutes and 25 seconds, the Suns missed seven of eight shots and turned the ball over three times. In that span, the Warriors reeled off a game-changing 19-2 run.
Golden State came into the night ranked No. 28 in the league in bench points. Sunday, six reserve players combined for 36 points, including 13 off the pine by Draymond Green.
Gerald Green followed up his career-high 41 points with another impressive offensive performance Sunday. The Suns swingman scored a season-high 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Green now has 66 combined points in his last two games — the most over any two-game span in his career.
The Suns shot 48 percent from the field and from three-point range, but arguably more impressive was their accuracy from the charity stripe. In all, Phoenix connected on 26-of-29 free throws. Four players hit at least four attempts.
Phoenix has lost five straight games at Oracle Arena dating back to the 2010-11 campaign. The Suns’ last win, 104-92, came on Feb. 7, 2011.