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Curry, Warriors douse Suns, clinch No. 1 seed in West

Curry, Warriors douse Suns, clinch No. 1 seed in West
Published On: Thu, Apr 06
Jun 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) goes for a rebound againstGolden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) and Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12) in game one of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Mabanglo-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- With their regular-season goals achieved, the Golden State Warriors can focus on getting healthy for the playoffs and reclaiming the NBA championship.

Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 42 points in the first 10 minutes, and the Warriors clinched the top spot in the Western Conference and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with a 120-111 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Golden State won the NBA title in 2014-15 and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals last season.

Klay Thompson added 22 points for the Warriors (65-14), who won their 13th consecutive game and hit the 65-win mark for the third straight season. They are the third team in NBA history to have the league's best record in three straight seasons, joining the Boston Celtics (1983-86) and the Philadelphia 76ers (1965-68).

"It's a remarkable sign of consistency (to hit 65 wins again). We have bigger goals obviously, but it's something to be proud of," Thompson said. "It's a long season and it's not an easy thing to do."

Golden State rested Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and hopes to have Kevin Durant (knee) back for the final three tune-up games of the regular season.

"We need to keep building momentum but do it smartly so we can go into the playoffs fresh and ready to go," Curry said. "I'm sure (Durant) wants to get his rhythm back and three games is a great opportunity to break a sweat and find his timing. He's going to fit right in, obviously."

The Warriors had a 40-point scorer for the third game in a row. Curry had 42 points in a 139-115 win against the Washington Wizards on Sunday, and Thompson scored 41 in a 121-107 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

The Warriors gave back all but three points of a 23-point lead after one quarter but never surrendered the lead on the way to matching their longest winning streak of the year. They also won 13 straight from Nov. 7-28.

"I'm really proud of our guys," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "Especially the way they responded after (Durant's) injury and losing a lot of games on the East Coast. To bounce back and win the last 13 to get the top seed, that really a hell of a run.

"Our guys enjoy the position they are in. They know his is a special era that's not going to last forever. We have a special group of talent players together and we're trying to enjoy every moment of it."

Golden State swept the season series and has beaten the Suns 11 straight times, the Warriors' longest winning streak ever against Phoenix. The Warriors finished their road schedule with a 31-10 mark.

Devin Booker had 21 points, Tyler Ulis 20 and Jared Dudley added a season-high 19 points off the bench for the Suns, who tied the longest single-season losing streak in team history with their 13th consecutive loss. Alan Williams had 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for Phoenix (22-57).

Phoenix got as close as three points in the fourth quarter when a Ulis jumper made it 104-101 with 5:01 left to play. But Curry answered with his eighth 3-pointer of the game and Thompson followed a jumper with a 3-pointer to put the Warriors back up 112-105 with 2:11 to go.

Curry hit his first five 3-pointers of the game and was 8-for-12 in the first period, when he outscored the Suns 23-18 by himself. His first 3-pointer put him over the 13,000-point mark in his career.

"Steph came out and lit the house on the fire to start the game," Kerr said. "We kind of got mesmerized. We were so enamored with what Steph was doing, we kind of stopped playing. The ball wasn't moving the way it normally was."

Shaun Livingston's alley-oop pass attempt to JaVale McGee went into the net for his first 3-pointer of the season with 3.9 seconds left. It capped a 17-5 run to give Golden State a 41-18 lead after one quarter.

"We've been telling Shaun to shoot more threes," Curry said. "I guess that's what it took to get one in."

But with Curry on the bench for the first seven minutes of the second quarter, the Suns rallied.

Ulis had nine points and a Derrick Jones Jr. free throw capped a 19-4 run to pull the Suns within 47-39 with 4:14 left. Curry returned and scored five straight points, including his sixth 3-pointer of the half, but Phoenix kept coming and got back to 58-52 at halftime on a Booker jump shot with seven-tenths of a second remaining.

"We got down and the second unit tried to play team basketball and get us back into it," Dudley said. "Obviously they are a championship team and we are learning. It's something new every day for us."

NOTES: The Warriors rested F Draymond Green and F Andre Iguodala on the back end of back-to-back games. Asked why he rested those two and not G Stephen Curry and G Klay Thompson, Golden State Steve Kerr said, "Draymond's tired. I can tell. The training staff can tell. Steph and Klay are in a great groove, feeling good, they want to play. Draymond has been grinding all year and this was a good game to give him a night off." ... The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to win at least 65 games in three consecutive seasons. They won 67 games in 2014-15 and a record 73 games in 2016-17. The victory Wednesday ensured at least an .830 winning percentage over the past three years, something no NBA, NHL or MLB team has ever done. The last NFL team to do so was the 1985-87 Chicago Bears (40-7-0). ... Curry is the sixth Warrior to reach 13,000 points, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Paul Arizin, Chris Mullin and Nate Thurmond.

Read the complete news article here...


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