Maggette, Ellis lead Warriors past Suns
Corey Maggette(notes) scored a season-high 33 points and had eight rebounds, one of six Warriors players in double figures, and Golden State held Phoenix to four points over the final 2:54 to beat the Suns 132-127 on Saturday and end a seven-game skid.
“At the end of the day, we’re really just trying to lift Monta up because he’s the backbone of this team,” said Maggette, who is averaging 24.4 points in his last seven games. “We’re just trying to get him some leeway to where he doesn’t have to play 40-plus minutes a game and get burned out.”
Ellis, the workhorse of the Warriors offense, had 33 points and 10 assists while playing more than 45 minutes. It’s the 10th time in 18 games Ellis has topped the 30-point mark.
He scored on a driving layup to give Golden State a 121-116 lead with 5:13 left to play but went scoreless after that. Fortunately for Ellis, his teammates happily picked up the slack.
Maggette went 13 of 17 from the floor and scored four points in the final 90 seconds, including a follow-up dunk that gave Golden State a 127-123 lead after Ellis missed a jumper.
“We’ve been playing good basketball but we haven’t had good performances from everybody,” Golden State coach Don Nelson said. “Monta is always carrying us … but it all worked out and we got a contribution from everybody.”
The Suns, who have lost seven straight road games, committed 21 turnovers which led to 35 points for the Warriors, not the type of performance Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry was looking for with his team preparing to face the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston in back-to-back games beginning Monday.
“You give up 132 points, you’re not guarding anybody,” Gentry said. “We had guys that played well … but the bottom line is that they played harder than we did. We won’t beat anybody in the Pac-10 if we turn it over for 35 points.”
The Suns were coming off a 124-93 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day, which might have had an effect late in the game against Golden State, which had lost 13 of 15 before ending a four-game losing streak to the Suns.
After Nash scored on a driving layup, Maggette made two free throws to make it 129-125. Nash, who had 19 points in the third quarter, scored on another layup but Anthony Morrow(notes) made a free throw before Nash missed the 3-pointer.
“All the games we’ve played in the last month, we’ve been competitive and in them,” Curry said. “We’ve gotten consistent play out of Monta and Corey. We just need two or three more scorers to come in and have big games, especially in the fourth quarter. That’s why we got the win tonight.”
The Suns led 108-104 after three quarters but were outscored 17-8 to start the final period and couldn’t catch up after that.
“It just shows that our team is really trying to be mature and do some great things and guys are stepping up,” Maggette said. “When (the Suns are) full throttle they’re really tough to beat, so we got lucky tonight, we made some shots and everyone contributed.”
Phoenix beat Golden State 123-101 when the teams played at US Airways Center on Oct. 30. Nelson had a full roster to work with in that first matchup but since then the team has traded disgruntled forward and former team captain Stephen Jackson(notes) to Charlotte, lost Kelenna Azubuike(notes) to a season-ending knee injury and has been without injured starting center Andris Biedrins(notes).
Surprisingly, the Warriors played better the second time around with less than a full roster of healthy players.
Neither team played much defense in the first half, a typical theme when the two Pacific Division rivals meet. The Suns led 71-70 at the break.
The trend continued into the third quarter when Ellis and Maggette had 12 points apiece for Golden State. But the Warriors couldn’t stop Nash, who made four 3-pointers, to give Phoenix a 108-104 edge.
NOTES: The 259 combined points were the second-highest in an NBA game this season. Atlanta and Toronto combined for 261 points on Dec. 2. … Golden State’s Ronny Turiaf(notes) had seven points and five rebounds in his first game since Nov. 30. … Biedrins (lower back strain) will try to play Monday when Golden State hosts Boston. … Phoenix hasn’t won back-to-back games since Nov. 27-29.