Two of the NBA’s best point guards, both likely to feel inspired by disappointing performances 24 hours earlier, renew their rivalry on Thursday night when Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors visit Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns.
The meeting will be the first of the season for the Western Conference playoff hopefuls, who had an earlier scheduled matchup in Phoenix postponed because of COVID-19 issues.
The Warriors will ride the momentum of a 123-111 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves into the second night of a back-to-back.
Rookie James Wiseman slammed home a season-best 25 points for the Warriors while former Suns guard Kelly Oubre Jr. shot 7-for-9 on a 20-point night. Golden State completed a three-day, two-game sweep of the Timberwolves.
Curry led the way Monday in the Warriors’ 130-108 win with 36 points, but he misfired on his first seven shots attempts in the rematch. He was scoreless in the first half until he converted a driving layup with nine seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Curry finished with 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting after having averaged 29.5 points in his previous six games.
For a change, it was one of Curry’s teammates talking about a headline-grabbing scoring night afterward.
“It feels good, but I’m happy that we got the win,” Wiseman said. “I don’t really look at stats like that, but today was a great game and I’m going to just keep building on that.
“I like the fact that we got the ‘W’ tonight, and we got (two in a row vs. Minnesota). So we got two ‘W’s.’ So we’re onto the next game, and I’m just ready for that game. Ready for Phoenix.”
The Warriors and Suns split four games last season. Curry played only 21 total minutes in those contests, sustaining a broken left hand in the third quarter of the teams’ first meeting at San Francisco in October 2019.
He has come out on the winning end in 15 of his last 17 games against the Suns, going for 40 or more points on two of those occasions and at least 30 five other times.
The Suns also will be playing their second game in two nights. They were surprised 102-97 at home by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday despite getting a season-high 32 points from Paul against his former team.
However, the veteran misfired on a potential game-tying 3-point attempt with 8.4 seconds remaining, basically assuring the Suns’ third straight loss.
“I’m just trying to figure out how we can win,” Paul said after the defeat, “because the losing stuff gets old.
“We play in spurts. We’ve gotta respect who we’re playing against. Every night. Respect the opponent. They get paid just like we do.”
Phoenix played without leading scorer Devin Booker, who sustained a hamstring injury Saturday in the Suns’ home loss to Denver. He is not likely to return to face Golden State.
The Suns also have been playing without Dario Saric, sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.
–Field Level Media