W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91

W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91
February 14, 2012, 5:52 am
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OAKLAND It took the Warriors a little while, but it looks like theyre building something. Golden State beat the Suns on Monday at Oracle, their third consecutive victory and longest of the season.Warriors 102, Suns 96Key bucket: With the Warriors up three and the shot clock winding down, Monta Ellis had the ball stripped from him and it wound up in the hands of Ekpe Udoh.Udoh took the ball strong to the hoop and finished with his left hand over a couple of Suns defenders to give the Warriors a 96-91 lead with 36 seconds left.Im certainly pleased with what hes doing on the floor, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Outstanding defense on the pick and roll, on the block, all over the place, altering shots and then offensively hes becoming more aggressive. The guy is playing great basketball and Im really pleased hes responding.Key stretch: With the score 88-84, and Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat having just re-entered the game, it appeared to be time for the Suns to make a run.But Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson promptly connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, and just like that it was 94-84 with 5:43 remaining with the Warriors in control.The lead got down to three, but not any closer than that.Lees night: He did virtually all of his work in the first three quarters, but David Lee still finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Lee took advantage of plenty of minutes at the five, taking Phoenixs Marcin Gortat to the mid-post area and doing damage from there.He was attacking and being aggressive, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. We went to him a lot down in the post, even isos iin the wing, where he was getting to the basket and finishing around the basket. He controlled the glass, thats what he does. Hes a double-double machine when hes out there playing the way he is supposed to. It was a huge game from him.Ellis struggles: Ellis got off to a rough start against Phoenix, missing his first nine shots from the field before settling into a 2-for-12 half. Ellis had been shooting the ball well coming into Mondays game, going 37-for-66 (56 percent) from the field in his past three games.Incidentally, Ellis was playing his 400th game as a Warrior.3-pointer AWOL: After using the 3-point shot to their benefit in the past four games, the longball was hard to find in the first half against Phoenix. The Warriors went just 3-for-12 from beyond the arc through two quarters. The Warriors had gone 51-for-99 from 3-point range (52 percent) in the four games prior to Monday.State of the Warriors: Jackson was asked before the game now that hes had a few months to assess the team, what does he think?Weve got some very good pieces and were playing some very good basketball right now, Jackson said. Bottom line is were doing a better job of taking care of the basketball. When we rebound and defend we put ourselves in position to beat whoever comes in here or wherever we go.Very pleased with the direction were heading in. Ive got a great group of guys. Ive been on teams and Ive followed teams where it wasnt fun to be part of -- whether it be in the locker room or in games. Ive got a great group of guys. I dont have a bad guy. Ive got a bunch of guys who are buying into what were trying to do.

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