OAKLAND – Though they've spent most of the season with the best record in the NBA, the Warriors are reeling a bit, coming off consecutive losses for the third time this season.
They've yet to lose three straight.
After a 110-100 loss at Utah on Friday, the Warriors (36-8) are back at Oracle Arena on Saturday night and hoping to recover against a Phoenix team that on Nov. 9 handed them their first loss of the season. It's a battle of two teams that prefer to play at a fast pace. Both do it well.
The Suns (28-20) are coming off an impressive home victory over the Bulls, who three days earlier beat the Warriors in Oakland. Their lineup, featuring two and sometime three point guards gave Chicago fits.
Insofar as the Warriors loss, the rebounding battle in both their recent losses, they get a break in that regard, as Suns often operate behind a three-guard unit and have not been a strong rebounding team.
Warriors by 9
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Goran Dragic -- Dragic is a force of nature, a bullish attacker who never seems to tire. He's capable, with his impetuous drives, of giving Curry fits. Then again, Curry has the offensive game to get the better of any defender.
Klay Thompson vs. Eric Bledsoe -- Fresh off being added to the Western Conference All-Star roster, Thompson had perhaps his least effective game of the season. He'll need a bounce-back performance – at both ends – against the explosive Bledsoe.
Bench vs. Bench -- Led by firebrand guard Isaiah Thomas, the Suns have the highest scoring bench in the conference. Warriors' reserves have been inconsistent, and an ineffective game would invite defeat against Phoenix.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Crash the glass -- The Warriors lost their last two games largely because they were outrebounded. And neither of those teams is as explosive as the Suns.
2) Rediscover D -- The Warriors still lead the NBA in defense, but haven't played to that level the past two games. Do they remember how well it triggered their offense?
3) Start fast -- An intense first quarter would delight the crowd, and the Warriors often ride the energy and roars of Oracle.
Warriors 7-3. Suns 6-4.
Warriors -- No injuries listed.
Suns -- No injuries listed.
C Festus Ezeli is on assignment with the Warriors' D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz.
After splitting the series (2-2) last season, the Warriors lost the first meeting of this season 107-95 at US Airways Center on Nov. 9. The Warriors have won the last five meetings in Oakland. -30-