The Phoenix Suns needed this win over the Golden State Warriors and they did on the road playing good team basketball. The defense might not have looked great at times, as Warriors guard Monta Ellis sliced his way past Suns defenders as if their feet were glued to the floor, but holding Golden State to right at their season average of 101 points has to be considered a step in the right direction.
Rebounding was another success for the Suns as the surprise insertion of seven-foot Earl Barron into the starting lineup paid dividends. Barron played 25 minutes and recorded only two points and four rebounds, but he held his opponent, Andris Biedrins, to only three boards. The Suns combination of Channing Frye and Barron out-rebounded the glass-eating Warriors tandem of Biedrins and David Lee, 14-11. As a team, the Suns only gave up 31 boards to the Warriors and finished plus-six on the glass. That's a major step forward for the worst rebounding team in the league.
Steve Nash led the Suns with 16 assists to go with his 13 points and his understudy Goran Dragic played very well in the fourth quarter and finished with seven points. The Suns were led in scoring by Jason Richardson's 25 points and Grant Hill's 24. Those two veteran wing players were the difference in winning out a close game on the road. Frye was solid in the middle, as well, recording a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Turnovers were a factor for both teams, with the Suns coughing up the ball 16 times and the Warriors 15. Golden State forced turnovers (11 steals), which gave them a 24-14 advantage over Phoenix in points off turnovers. This ten-point edge was negated at the free throw line, where the Suns hit 21-22 while the Warriors were only 10-17. Ellis missed four of his seven free throw attempts despite shooting 3-5 from three-point range.
Ellis netted a game-high 38 points to go with seven assists, and David Lee contributed 25 points and eight boards for the Warriors, losers in seven of their last eight games.
The Suns will travel home immediately after the game and face the Indiana Pacers back in Phoenix on Friday night.
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