Warriors fall to Suns, tie season series at 2-2
These two teams may meet again with a real prize on the line in the postseason.
If the Phoenix Suns are as good as they say…
Then how come they keep having extreme difficulty battling with the never-at-full-strength Golden State Warriors? The two Pacific Division rivals have split their season series 2-2, with some fascinating trends emerging.
The Suns shoot a league best field goal percentage of 48.7%, a paragon of efficiency in the modern game. But when facing the Warriors’ defense this season, suddenly they are a pedestrian 44% from the field. Another note: Phoenix is 3rd in the NBA in eFG% at 55.2%, but that plummets to 49.9% when they face Golden State. For reference, the Suns have an eFG% of 56.2% when they face LeBron’s Lakers, cooking them with fish grease.
Devin Booker is a scoring machine, an All-Star, a guy who can get hot and put up stupid scoring numbers. In his younger days he even outlasted Klay Thompson in a three-point shootout! I totally get why there are some Suns fans are apoplectic that Booker isn’t getting more MVP consideration despite keeping the team in the #1 seed in Chris Paul’s absence.
Booker’s faced GSW 2 1/2 times this year (he was knocked out of their first contest with an injury after only 10 minutes played). Over those games, his offense has been bottled up like a cold Sprite in the back of the fridge. Per Stat Head he’s shot 14-of-49 from the field, a ghastly 28% percent. And from the three-point line he’s been 3-of-15 (20%).
And looking at the two games where he played the most minutes, it’s clear GSW has figured out something effective in slowing him down.
I’d love for my peoples here at the HQ to take a gander at that footage and tell me what you see. Here’s what I see: high degree-of-difficulty shots hoisted against quality defenders. I wouldn’t mind seeing some more of that in a potential playoff matchup.
Is it just me or does Klay Thompson, a proven superscorer who happens to be returning from major leg surgery, get criticized more than Booker for hunting tough shots? I mean Klay shot an abysmal 5-of-21 last night and there was some frustration bubbling from the HQ game thread on his penchant for jacking shots, per commenter Truckeeman:
Mr." I've got too much adrenaline" would benefit from watching from the bench to start a few games. Get his breathing under control. I love Klay and am confident about his ability to make huge positive differences to the team, but last night's start was horrendous, and it didn't really get better.
If that’s how down folks feel about Klay’s performance (to the point that a bench role could have to be considered), then we should be extremely proud that GSW forced Prime Devin Booker into shooting so poorly repeatedly this year.
DeAndre Ayton was more frustrating to deal with after rumbling to 16 points and 16 rebounds, but he shot a meh 7-of-17 from the field with only 2 attempted free throws and 5 turnovers. That’s a HECKUVA defensive performance from a Warriors team that is notoriously short on bigs this season.
Wait wait one more thing about Booker before I get outta this article: he can’t guard Jordan Poole.
Actually, can anyone on the Suns defend him???
Is Poole becoming what we always dreamed from our wildest Patrick McCaw aspirations? Probably a bad comparison. Anyways, I don’t believe Phoenix wants to see these Warriors if Stephen Curry is healthy. They really don’t.
Let’s not forget Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green put on a tremendous defensive display last night.
I repeat: if Phoenix is as good as they say, how come they keep having so much trouble against unhealthy Warriors teams? Tell me HQ.