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

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

BOX SCORE

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.

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

OAKLAND -- It was with impeccable timing, for the Warriors and for Andre Iguodala, that he has spent recent weeks summoning all the best parts of his game.

He has been a disruptive force on defense, as usual, but at a time when the Warriors needed something extra at both ends of the court, he is providing an abundance of offensive electricity.

Iguodala came through once more on Sunday as the Warriors suffocated Memphis in the fourth quarter to take a 106-94 win at Oracle Arena. Though the team’s Sixth Man again scored at an efficient clip -- 20 points on eight shot attempts -- his ability to energize teammates from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Klay Thompson and beyond is no less significant.

“We feed off his energy when we see him get a rebound or get a steal, push up the court, make a crazy inside-out dribble and finish at the rim, knock down threes or play-make for other guys,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Iguodala’s rise has coincided with the loss of Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and someone who plays the same position. With Durant out, Iguodala has taken on additional playing time, which can be risky for someone in his 13th season.

“He’s been fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looks incredibly athletic, bouncy and fresh. He’s a pro. The guy just knows how to take care of his body. He’s done a great job of stepping up in KD’s absence and recognizing what we need from him.”

The Warriors have played 13 games since Durant went down with a knee injury, and Iguodala has played in 11 of them, shooting 44 percent from deep and 61.8 percent overall. The man who shot 62.3 percent from the line in his first three seasons as a Warrior is at 70.1 percent this season. Leadership also is part of the package.

“I try to read (what’s needed) when I get into the game,” Iguodala said. “Try to bring that energy. And, more than anything, lead by example. Not say too much. Just show it.”

When Iguodala is sprinting up and down the court, rising and dunking on one end, stripping balls away on the other, the Warriors are appreciably better team. If the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson foursome is the engine, Iguodala is the turbo boost.

“We’re a completely different team when he’s as aggressive as he’s been of late,” Green said. “When he’s moving the way he’s been moving -- he’s beating everybody down the floor -- it makes us a completely different team. “

Igoudala’s minutes have spiked, from 23 per game in November, to 26 in December, to 27 in January and February, to almost 29 in March.

“I don’t want to run his minutes up too much,” Kerr said. “But if he has to play a couple extra minutes while KD is out, then that’s fine.”

It’s fine with Iguodala and it’s paying off for the Warriors.

Iguodala hopes it pays off, literally, when he becomes a free agent in July.

Though free agents entering their 14th season don’t often command big money, he is making a very impressive audition for the Warriors or any team that might be interested in his services.

Iguodala has made it clear he’d prefer to stay in the Bay Area, and at this rate the Warriors may have to find the necessary coins to bring him back.

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- There was plenty of tension and more than a few pulse-stopping moments, but the Warriors found a way to win their seventh consecutive game.

The Warriors’ 106-94 victory Sunday over the admirably recalcitrant Memphis Grizzlies was a work in persistence and overcome moments in which the worst of their work was on full display before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson scored 31 points to lead the offense. Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 11 assists, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Matt Barnes finished with 10 as the Warriors evened the season series with the Grizzlies at 2-2.

The Warriors (59-14) fought off numerous Memphis rallies but turned up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Grizzlies to 13 points on 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting over the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors offset 18 turnovers, giving the Grizzlies 16 point, by shooting 54.2 percent from the field.

Mike Conley scored 29 points to lead Memphis, which fell to 40-33.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As good as the Splash Brothers were, and they were superb, it was Iguodala’s play at both ends that made a major difference.

Iguodala’s line: 20 points (7-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high-tying seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. He played 32 minutes and was plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After the Grizzlies pulled into an 81-81 tie with 25.2 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to go up 96-86 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 4:57 remaining.

Memphis got no closer than nine in the final minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain and bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) was listed as out. C Deyonta Davis and F Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors travel Monday to Houston, where on Tuesday night they face the Rockets at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.