What do you get when you send a tired team on the road to face the conference’s top squad?
Hint: The result isn’t pretty.
Coming off a game against the Chicago Bulls that ended less than 24 hours before Saturday’s matchup began, the Phoenix Suns were held to their season-low point total in a 106-87 loss to the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors.
The Suns (28-21) led by as many as 12 points several times in the second quarter. Goran Dragic’s basket midway through the quarter gave Phoenix a 40-28 advantage.
But the Warriors outscored Phoenix 24-11 for the rest of the half thanks in part to three 3-pointers from Stephen Curry, and Golden State took a 52-51 lead into halftime.
After the Warriors built a double-digit lead in the second half, Phoenix climbed back to within 84-77 early in the fourth quarter behind a pair of dunks by Brandan Wright. But Golden State responded with a 13-2 run to close out the Suns.
Coming off their 99-93 win over the Bulls on Friday, the Suns may have simply worn down physically as the game progressed. They shot just 36.3 percent (33-of-91) from the field for the game and committed 20 turnovers against the Warriors.
Golden State (37-8) improved to 22-2 at home and evened the season series with Phoenix at one game apiece. The Suns routed the Warriors 107-95 in Phoenix on Nov. 9 to hand Golden State its first loss of the season.
Here’s a closer look at how the Suns ran out of gas in the Bay Area on Saturday, by the numbers:
With the loss, the Suns have dropped three consecutive games on the road. They fell 100-95 at the San Antonio Spurs and 122-110 in overtime at the Memphis Grizzlies before their eight-game homestand began. The Suns are 13-12 away from home on the season.
The Suns out-rebounded the Warriors by a plus-6 margin (15-9) on the offensive glass and 52-44 overall for the evening.
Suns forward Markieff Morris had a game-high-tying 11 rebounds to go with a team-high 17 points Saturday. Morris is averaging 5.9 rebounds per game this season but has averaged 11 boards in the Suns’ last three games.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson missed the team’s first meeting with the Suns this season with an injury, but on Saturday, he made his presence felt throughout the game, contributing 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor.
Curry got his points Saturday, but the Suns did an adequate job of defending him in a losing effort. Curry, who’s averaging 23 points per game this season, was just 9-of-23 (39.1 percent) from the field.
The Suns’ previous season-low point total was 88, which they accomplished twice: in a win at the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 19 and in a loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 14.