Suns-Warriors Preview

The Associated Press

With star Stephen Curry not providing much offense, the Golden State Warriors have continued to roll largely due to solid defense.

Now they'll try to keep it going against a journeyman who is among the NBA's hottest players.

Gerald Green, coming off a career night, looks to help the Phoenix Suns win their season series with the Warriors on Sunday night in Oakland.

Curry remains among the league leaders with 23.6 points per game but is looking to avoid being held below 20 in four straight for the first time in 2014. Then again, he might not mind that streak continuing - Golden State (39-24) won the previous three games.

No Warriors player reached 20 points in either of the last two, but they beat Boston and Atlanta by double digits to improve to 8-2 since the All-Star break. No opponent has scored 100 during the three-game win streak, and Golden State is 30-4 when holding the opposition below the century mark.

"All in all I think we're doing a great job of understanding who we are. We are a defensive-minded team," center Jermaine O'Neal said. "We've got guys that can score the basketball, but I don't want anybody to be fooled; we are a defensive-minded team and if we're going to win it all, that's what's going to help us win it all."

The same can't be said of the Suns (36-25), who have allowed an average of 112.0 points in their last seven games. However, they've won three of four and Green has been dominant in the last two victories.

With his seventh team in seven seasons, Green scored 33 in last Sunday's win over Atlanta and had a career-high 41 on Thursday in a 128-122 victory over Oklahoma City. His 25 in the third were one off the franchise record for points in a quarter and helped Phoenix rally from a 16-point deficit.

"I love the way he's playing right now," coach Jeff Hornacek said of Green, 17 of 29 from 3-point range this month. "We knew he could shoot the ball. There's not too many guys that can get on a roll like that."

Despite a career average of 9.4 points, Green is among the league leaders with 23.3 per game since Feb. 8, when he scored 25 in a 122-109 win over the Warriors.

Goran Dragic had a game-high 34 points and 10 assists as Phoenix won for the second time in three meetings this season. He had a 40-point night of his own last weekend against New Orleans and has averaged 25.2 in his last five road games.

The Suns, opening a nine-day stretch in which they play five of six on the road, trail Golden State by two games for sixth in the Western Conference.

"Phoenix is playing great basketball. They're trying to knock on our door for that sixth spot," said O'Neal, who played 55 games for the Suns last season. "They play with great speed, they play together, they shoot a lot of 3s. We're going to try to slow those guys down and put them in a difficult situation on the defensive end."

The Suns have been held to an average of 93.3 points during a four-game losing streak in Oakland, including a 115-86 defeat Dec. 27.

Curry had a triple-double with career highs of 16 assists and 13 rebounds. He had only 14 points that day, compared to a 29.0 average in the Warriors' two losses to the Suns.

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