The opening night contest between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns was ugly. It felt a little like a playoff game thanks to plenty of intensity and testy moments between the two Western Conference contenders.
It appeared that the Suns would have an easy night early on in the game, thanks to 15 first quarter points from Devin Booker.
However, the Warriors went on a 16-2 to close out the opening period to force a 28-28 tie. The Suns again looked like they had recovered by the end of the first half, though, after pushing their advantage to 61-46 heading into the third quarter.
The Warriors, who shot 31% from the field and 26.1% from beyond the arc in the first half, found their way again for a while. A mix of hustle and shotmaking saw them flip the script with a 21-point turnaround to take the 86-80 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
However, the Suns would not be outdone, even while missing third star Bradley Beal due to lingering back issues. Phoenix used an 8-0 burst to tie the game at 88-88 in the fourth quarter. It was a back and forth battle the rest of the way, with a furious finish.
Kevin Durant had a terrible time from the field. Hounded on almost every possession, Durant finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds but only made 7 of 22 shots. That rough performance from the field almost sank his team. Maybe he was overcome with emotion after finally getting his Warriors tribute video, or you know, he just had a bad night.
Booker would not let the Suns sink in clutch time, though. He finished the game with 32 points, six rebounds and eight assists while hitting a solid 13 of 21 of his field goal attempts. More importantly, he put his faith in his teammates, finding them open for the Suns’ final eight points of the game, which were enough for them to squeeze by on a 108-104 scoreline. Considering how well he’d been shooting the ball, it’s even more commendable that Booker was willing to make the right basketball play instead of playing hero ball in the closing minute.
Josh Okogie also had a showout game for the Suns with 17 points and five rebounds while hitting 7 of 9 shots.
Jusuf Nurkic, who came to Phoenix via the trade that sent DeAndre Ayton to Portland, also had a good debut with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
The Warriors will be disappointed with the loss, especially since they came back from multiple big deficits and even had a lead with 5:10 left in the game. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Chris Paul shot a combined 7 of 30 from beyond the arc, which certainly contributed to the defeat.
It may not have been easy, but every win counts in this loaded Western Conference. The Suns will be happy to take the W and focus on their game against the Lakers in a couple of days.