The Phoenix Suns notched a 17th victory in a row on Tuesday night, defeating Stephen Curry’s Warriors 104-96 in the duel at the top of the NBA between the two best teams at the start of the season.
Deprived in the second quarter of their back Devin Booker, injured in a hamstring, the Suns were able to rely on veteran leader Chris Paul (15 points, 11 assists) and inside Deandre Ayton (24 points , 11 rebounds).
But the unfortunate finalists – facing the Bucks – last season were mostly able to count on an iron defense, keeping Stephen Curry at 12 points with a pitiful 4 of 21 on shots, and limiting the Warriors to 18 points in the last. quarter.
“On the defense side, we are a team that is improving,” admitted Phoenix coach Monty Williams after the meeting. “For me, it was played on a question of will and hardness … Our guys put all their will to win.”
– Record for the Suns –
The Suns coach also praised the performance of Chris Paul, the 36-year-old veteran who ended up on the floor for 39 minutes because of Booker’s injury: “Chris playing 39 minutes says something about his character and his dedication to the game “.
With this 17th victory in a row – they have not lost since a loss to Sacramento on October 27 – the Suns tied a franchise record, which they will have the opportunity to beat on Thursday night against the weak Detroit Pistons.
With 18 wins and 3 losses for each, Suns and Warriors are still leading the Western Conference and the NBA after their clash.
Across the country, the evening was marked by a New York derby, between the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. And it was the Nets of Kevin Durant (27 points, 9 assists) and James Harden (34 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) who won after the suspense 112-110, consolidating their first place in the Eastern Conference ( 15 wins, 6 losses).
Joined at 110-110 17 seconds from the end of the match after a 3 points from Frenchman Evan Fournier (13 points in total), the Nets finally won in the last seconds thanks to two free throws from James Johnson, well served by Kevin Durant before being the victim of a foul by going to the basket.
– LeBron James absent –
Note that thanks to his three successful 3-point shots (out of eight), James Harden arrived at the foot of the podium for the most prolific three-point players in NBA history during the regular season, with 2,500 winning shots converted. In front of him, legendary Pacers full-back Reggie Miller, Stephen Curry – who should soon be at the top of the table – and Ray Allen, who has scored 2,973 3-pointers during his career.
In the other matches of the evening, the Lakers had to do without LeBron James – dismissed because of the health protocol, without it being immediately specified if he was positive for Covid-19 or contact case- – but they easily disposed of the Sacramento Kings, swept 117-92 after having led by 9 points at halftime.
Among the Angelenos, Anthony Davis (25 points, 7 rebounds), Russell Westbrook (23 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) and Malik Monk off the bench (22 points, 6 of 10 to 3 points) were the top scorers in the absence of the “King” James.
Also remember the victories of the Memphis Grizzlies in Toronto (98-91) and Portland against Detroit (110-92).