Highlights: Warriors clamp down defensively, stave off Suns
The Warriors finished business Sunday at 40-24, just 2.5 games behind the 5th place Portland Trail Blazers. (USATI)
OAKLAND – The defense arrived late, but when it showed up it brought gifts to the Warriors.
Points – lots of points – which generated the momentum that carried them to a 113-107 victory over the Suns before a sellout crowd Sunday night at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors (40-24) have won four in a row and are 9-2 since the All-Star break.
After a first half in which Phoenix shot 56.1 percent, the Warriors locked down in the third, holding the Suns 31.3 percent shooting (5-of-16) and forcing seven turnovers, turning a 61-56 halftime deficit into a 94-78 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Shooting guard Klay Thompson was in the middle of rally, scoring 13 of his 22 points during those 12 minutes. The 38-point quarter was the Warriors' highest this season.
Three other Warriors scored in double figures, led by David Lee (game-high 26 points). Stephen Curry, limited to 30 minutes while coping with a strained right quad, finished with 18 points and nine assists. Draymond Green added 13 points before fouling out.
Phoenix, which shot 60 percent in first quarter and 52.4 in second, shot 38.3 percent after halftime. The Suns (36-26) were led by guards Gerald Green, who scored 25 points, and Goran Dragic, who finished with 24 points and six assists.
STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Thompson was the catalyst, making all five of his shots in the third quarter and 9-of-15 for the game, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Lee, playing center as the Warriors predominantly utilized a small lineup, held is own against a rugged Phoenix frontcourt.
TURNING POINT: After Gerald Green jumper put Phoenix up by four (71-67) with 8:29 left in the third quarter, the Warriors cranked up the defensive intensity and went on a 21-5 run, taking a 90-75 lead with 2:45 left in the quarter.
Thompson scored 10 of the 21 points during that stretch, during which the Warriors forced three Suns turnovers and held the Suns to 2-of-9 shooting. The Warriors, getting layup after layup, shot 72.7 percent in the quarter while outscoring Phoenix 38-17.
The Suns, who led for most of the first half by as much as 12, never tied or led again.
INJURY UPDATE: G Curry (strained right quad) started the game but is considered day-to-day. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) is out.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors play their third consecutive home game Tuesday, when the Mavericks visit Oracle Arena. The teams have split the first two games of their four-game season series, each winning on its home court.