It took the biggest comeback win of the season, but the Golden State Warriors averted a loss to the Western Conference’s worst team with a 111-107 win at Phoenix on Friday.
The Warriors (44-32) trailed by as many as 18 points early in the second quarter before pulling ahead late in third. After taking a 75-74 advantage on a bucket from Klay Thompson at the 5:13 mark, the Warriors led the rest of the way.
After the Warriors allowed 64 points in the first half, they got a stern talking to coach from Mark Jackson in the locker room.
“He just told it was embarrassing and you should be ashamed of that,” Thompson said. “Coach Jackson, he doesn’t get mad that much, but when he does, you have to take it seriously.”
Thompson broke out of a recent shooting slump to score a team-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting in a game he and teammate Stephen Curry made history.
With 438 threes this season, the duo broke Dennis Scott and Nick Anderson’s record for three-pointers in season (435), which they set for the Magic in 1995-96.
Curry continued his pursuit of the single-season three-point record by going 3-of-8 from deep. He sits at 242 for the season -- fourth most all-time -- and 27 back of Ray Allen’s single-season record (269) from 2005-06. Curry has averaged 3.4 threes a game this season and needs to average more than 4.5 a game over the final six to break Allen’s mark.
If it weren’t for Curry’s big year, Thompson would hold the franchise’s single-season three-point record with 195. He was 3-of-4 against the Suns (23-53) after converting on just two of his last 14 attempts from deep.
The Warriors remain a game ahead of Houston for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference standings and can clinch a playoff spot with a win at home against Utah on Sunday.
“We understand we have a bigger goal than that,” Curry said, “but it’d be nice to go ahead get an ‘x’ by your name and shave these beards off and keep moving.”
Golden State pledged not to shave until it clinched a postseason berth.
After the Warriors turned the 18-point deficit into an 11-point lead, Phoenix didn’t go away. It trimmed the Warriors lead to 104-102 with 1:29 left and had an opportunity to tie it with under a minute left, but turned it over.
Following the turnover, Jarrett Jack hit a three to put Golden State up 107-102 with 31.6 seconds left. After Phoenix guard Goran Dragic knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a one-possession game, the Warriors called timeout and in-bounded to Curry, who quickly tossed it into the backcourt to give Phoenix hope.
“A bad play by Steph, he threw it away,” Jackson said. “Careless mistake that can’t happen.”
Instead of allowing the Suns to attempt a three, the Warriors fouled Jermaine O’Neal, who was 1-for-2 from the free-throw line. Jackson said the foul occurred earlier than he would have liked, but it worked out regardless.
Curry hit a pair of free throws seconds later to bring the Warriors lead to 109-105, at which point the game was essentially over.
Curry finished with 18 points and tied his career-high with 15 assists. David Lee (22 points, 14 rebounds) registered his NBA-leading 51st double-double of the year.
Dragic led all scorers with 32 points and Michael Beasley added 25 off the bench.
The Suns were unconscious from the field in the first quarter (14-22, 63.6%) as they built a 37-24 lead. Dragic knocked down all five of his shots, including a four-point play, and finished the quarter with 15 points.
Golden State could have figured it was bound for a long night when Beasley hit a contested half-court bank shot at the buzzer to end the first.
Things got worse before they got better for Golden State as the Suns extended their lead to 41-23 less than a minute into the second quarter. The Warriors responded with an 18-5 run over the next 4:52, but the Suns pushed the lead back to nine, 65-55, by halftime.
Dragic (21) and Beasley (19) combined for 40 points in the first half as the Suns shot 65.8 percent from the field (25-38).
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Next Up – Utah, Sunday
The Warriors host Utah (40-37) on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Oracle Arena for a chance to earn their second playoff berth in the last 19 years. The Jazz have won six of their last seven including a 95-83 win against New Orleans on Friday. Utah is a half-game behind the Lakers for the final playoff berth in the West.