It’s been nearly five years since a game between these teams didn’t include both scoring more than 100 points, a trend expected to continue Thursday night with both struggling defensively as their season series begins.
The Suns (8-9) have won eight of the last 10 meetings, averaging 123.8 points and giving up 117.0. Their past 17 games with the Warriors (8-10) have seen both teams cross the century mark in scoring, a streak dating to Phoenix’s 112-99 win Jan. 12, 2006.
The winning team had at least 123 points in all four matchups last season and the most recent was among the highest-scoring in series history, with the Suns winning 133-131 in Oakland on March 22.
Former Warrior Jason Richardson(notes) scored 34 in that victory and is coming off a season-high 39 points Sunday against a Denver team missing Carmelo Anthony(notes), but the Suns lost 138-133 in the league’s highest-scoring game of the season.
“I think it is just giving up too many of those drives, myself included and everybody. Not going out there and playing with aggression,” Richardson said. “We know we can score offensively; we can’t just rely on our offense to go out there and win games for us. We have got to find ways to get stops, key stops. You can’t let a team score 130 points.”
Phoenix has lost five of seven while giving up an average of 119.4 points, letting opponents shoot 52.0 percent from the field.
Three of the Suns’ last five opponents have posted their highest point totals of the season.
“You can’t win a game where you don’t guard anybody,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “You got to guard somebody. You got to guard one person.”
Gentry’s team is allowing a league-high average of 111.9 points. Golden State is fourth-worst at 106.5.
That average is at 112.4 during the Warriors’ current 1-6 slump following a 118-98 home loss to San Antonio on Tuesday.
They’re 4-1 when holding teams under 100 points, something that’s happened once in the past three weeks.
The good news for Golden State is David Lee(notes) is closer to full strength. After scoring 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting in his return Saturday after missing eight games with an elbow infection, Lee was 7 of 12 for 18 points Tuesday.
The Warriors closed November losing to the league’s top team record-wise and their first six games this month all come against playoff teams from last season. Following this contest, Golden State plays 11 of 16 on the road.
“We’re gonna learn a lot about our team here in December and the most important thing is that we stay together as a team,” said Lee, averaging 23.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in his last three games versus Phoenix.