PHOENIX SUNS

Depleted Suns fall to Golden State Warriors in home finale

Apr 8, 2018, 9:28 PM | Updated: Apr 9, 2018, 8:56 am
Phoenix Suns forward Danuel House Jr. (23) drives past Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green...
Phoenix Suns forward Danuel House Jr. (23) drives past Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green in the second half during an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Phoenix. The Warriors defeated the Suns 117-100. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Even in defeat, the Phoenix Suns won.

It’s been that kind of season of grasping at small victories with the hope that they grow into something more tangible — sooner rather than later, of course.

On Sunday, the Suns clinched the league’s worst record, thus earning them the best odds at landing the No. 1 overall pick: Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley or Luka Doncic, perhaps?

The NBA Draft Lottery is May 15.

It was theirs for the ta(n)king. Memphis had lost earlier in the day, so all the Suns needed to do was lose to Golden State, who despite playing the night before had three of their four all-stars on the court. More on them later.

As expected, it was no contest.

The Suns, who dressed just nine players, were beaten 117-100 in front of a sold-out Talking Stick Resort Arena in the regular season home finale.

Individually, several Suns stood out: Danuel House scored a career-high 22 points in a career-high 45 minutes, while three players recorded double-doubles: Dragan Bender (14 points and 14 rebounds), Alex Len (16 and 10) and Tyler Ulis (15 and 10 assists).

The Suns — once again without Devin Booker, Elfrid Payton and T.J. Warren plus Marquese Chriss (hip), Josh Jackson (knee) and Alan Williams (knee) — were no match for the Warriors, who swept Phoenix for the third straight season and won their 15th straight in the series.

Klay Thompson had 34 points on 14-of-23 shooting and 6-of-13 from 3-point range. Five others reached double-figures, including Kevin Durant (17) and Draymond Green (14).

The Warriors (58-23) never trailed after Thompson’s 17-foot turnaround jumper made it 10-9 a little over two minutes into the game.

The Suns (20-61) have lost 17 of 18. They finished with a franchise low 10 home wins.

THE GOOD

Making his second straight start, House wasted little time in making an impact on the game. He had seven points on 3-of-5 shooting and three rebounds playing all 12 minutes of the first quarter. His layup at the 9:58 mark put the Suns up 9-8, their last lead of the game. House finished with 22 points and tied his career-high with eight rebounds.

With 4.3 seconds left in the first half, Ulis nailed a 29-foot pull-up 3-pointer. They were his ninth, 10th and 11th points, putting him in double figures for a ninth straight game and matching the longest double-digit scoring streak of his career. Ulis finished with 15 points and his 10 assists, earning him his third double-double in the last 13 games and fourth of the season.

Coming out of the locker room, Len scored six of the Suns’ first nine third-quarter points. He would go for a team-high eight on 4-of-5 shooting (missing a 3-point attempt) in the period. Len finished with 16 points and his 10 rebounds earned him his team-leading 12th double-double of the season and third in his last seven games.

A seven-point, eight-rebound fourth-quarter effort put Bender in double figures in both scoring and rebounding, thus earning him his third career double-double — it was his second of the season and second in his last four games. His 14 rebounds, by the way, were a career-high, besting his previous mark of 13 set at Houston on Dec. 26, 2016.

THE BAD

His first shot attempt was no good. Thompson then made eight in row before his next miss. And this was just the first quarter. By the time the period was over, Thompson had made one less field goal (nine) than the entire Suns team (10). He went 9-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range to total 22 of the Warriors’ 33 first-quarter points.

Held scoreless in the first, Durant dropped 11 on the Suns in the second quarter. He made all three of his field goal attempts, including a pair of 3s and went 3-of-4 from the foul line. During one stretch, he scored eight straight points. At halftime, Durant was well on his way to a triple-double, adding six assists and four rebounds to his 11 points.

It was Green’s turn to lead the Warriors in the third quarter. He scored eight, knocking down a 3-pointer to put the Warriors in front by 15, 78-63, at the 5:31 mark. When Green exited, JaVale McGee took over and actually scored one more point than Green. McGree’s nine points came on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 shooting from the foul line.

Give Troy Daniels credit. He tried to play despite a sprained right ankle, plus a bad left ankle. He lasted one half, officially 13:35. Daniels did not see the court after halftime. Shaquille Harrison got the second-half start. Daniels shot 1-of-5 from the field, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range, for three points to go along with two rebounds and one steal.

STAT OF THE GAME

50-40: :The Warriors shot 52.2 percent (47-of-90) from the field and 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from 3-point range compared to the Suns’ 42.4 and 28.6 percent marks, respectively.

HE SAID IT

“I’m proud of the guys that played, and Troy for trying to play,” interim head coach Jay Triano said. “Troy is playing on two sprained ankles and you can see he couldn’t move. Finally at halftime I had to shut him down because he’s still trying to play. I really respect and honor that. The guys that played, they played the right way, they played hard. We’re trying to figure out who fits where in the organization as we move forward, and I think they’re all continuing to battle and give an honest effort.”

NOTED

– Jared Dudley recorded his fifth double-digit scoring game (11 points) of the season and the first since March 10 at Charlotte.

– Shaquille Harrison had a career-high six assists, one game after setting his previous high of five assists against New Orleans.

– The Suns had three different players record double-doubles for the first time this season and the first time since March 23, 2017.

– The Suns have made a 3-pointer in every game since March 29, 2004, the longest streak in NBA history at 1,139 straight games.

– Suns used their 34th different starting lineup going with Ulis, Daniels, House, Bender and Len.

– Booker (sprained right hand) missed his 11th consecutive game, Payton (left knee) his sixth and Warren (left knee) his 10th.

– Tyson Chandler did not play for a 13th straight game (he last played March 10 at Charlotte). He was among the listed inactives.

– Fan Appreciation Night included Suns players tossing mini basketballs and select game-worn items into the crowd after the game.

– Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and receiver Larry Fitzgerald were both at the game. They sat together courtside.

UP NEXT

Just one more game remains. It’s a road game.

The Suns close out 2017-18 against Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews of the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

The Suns are going for their first sweep of the Mavericks since 1997-98 and their second sweep of the season (Chicago) after winning the first two over Dallas by holding them to opponent season-low 36.4 percent in each — the Suns held the Mavericks to 91 points in Dallas on Dec. 18 and 88 points in Phoenix on Jan. 31.

Overall, the Suns have won four in a row against the Mavs, which is their longest win steak in the series since nine straight from 1997-1999.

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