Warriors-Suns Preview

The Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors have dropped 12 straight road games against the Phoenix Suns, with Monta Ellis suffering through numerous poor shooting efforts.

It's unclear if Ellis will be back Monday to help the Warriors try to end that skid in their first road game of the season.

Ellis left the team for Saturday's 107-79 loss to Philadelphia to attend his grandmother's funeral in Mississippi. Rookie Klay Thompson started in his place.

"Family is first,'' first-year coach Mark Jackson said. "He lost a grandmother who he loves dearly, and we want him to take as much as possible, or as much time that he needs, to take care of home.''

Ellis averaged a team-high 21.0 points in Golden State's first three games. But he's averaged 14.3 points on 37.9 percent shooting in 10 career games at Phoenix (1-3), his lowest in any arena.

Starting center Andris Biedrins is the only current player for the Warriors (2-2) who took part in their last victory in Phoenix, a 110-100 win March 18, 2005.

While the Warriors lost one-half of their backcourt Saturday, they got the other half back Saturday when Stephen Curry returned with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting after missing one game with a sprained right ankle.

"It's getting better," Curry said. "I went through the whole game without an incident. It's a step in the right direction, but it didn't have anything to do with the outcome of the game."

Phoenix, which lost 107-97 at Oklahoma City on Saturday, is trying to avoid dropping its first three home games for the first time since 2005-06. The Suns finished fourth in the league at 105.0 points per game ain 2010-11, but they are at 89.3 this season.

"We don't have very much in, to be honest with you," coach Alvin Gentry said. "What we're trying to do is we're trying to become real efficient in what we have in and if we become really efficient with that, then we can move on to something else."

The Suns have been better on the defensive end, allowing opponents to average 93.3 points and shoot 43.1 percent. They believe consistency on defense is what they need before their offense picks up.

"We have to grind it out," center Channing Frye said. "We do it some nights, and we need something to rely on, which I think should be our defense. This will give us more opportunities on offense."

Frye's scoring has dropped from an average of 12.7 points in 2010-11 to 4.3 this season. The same is true for veterans Steve Nash, down from 14.7 to 8.3, and Grant Hill, down from 13.2 to 9.0.

Gentry says the condensed NBA schedule makes it harder for Nash and Hill.

"Well, I think it hurts guys like Grant and Steve obviously, but we have to power through that," Gentry said. "It is going to be a short season and we're going to play a lot of back-to-backs."

The Suns shot 48.5 percent and averaged 107.8 points in sweeping four games from the Warriors last season.

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