SAN FRANCISCO – The historic race is over.
The Golden State Warriors broke the Phoenix Suns franchise record with 18 straight Friday night victories 118-96 in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,064 at the Chase Center. Devin Booker missed his second straight game with left hamstring strain suffered in the first half of the Suns’ home win on Tuesday over the Warriors.
The Warriors (19-3) had not played a game since Tuesday’s loss when it was the second straight game for the Suns (19-4), who dominated the Detroit Pistons at home on Thursday.
The Warriors led up to 27 points to avenge Tuesday’s loss as Stephen Curry scored 23 points after a historic shooting night.
Mikal Bridges suffered a dislocated right little finger in the first quarter as the Suns’ starting three finished with just seven points on a 2 of 7 shot.
Here are five takeaways from Friday’s first loss in over a month for the Suns following their 16-0 record in November:
1. Curry was not on Friday night off.
After his worst shooting performance of all time attempting at least 20 shots on Tuesday night, Curry rebounded from an effort of 4 of 21 (3 of 14 of 3 sec), scoring 8 of 20 (6 of 11 of 3 sec) ) in the rematch.
Curry had just 12 points in the first of three meetings in 30 days between the Warriors and the Suns, the last taking place on Christmas Day in Phoenix.
It was a combination of Golden State creating opportunities for a change to take Bridges away from him, with Curry being more efficient and just getting shots at him.
2. Bridges playing with the dislocated finger is testament to his tenacity, but with Booker absent, Phoenix needed Bridges to be more aggressive.
He wasn’t. He seemed to be more comfortable with the ball, but didn’t look like he was scoring.
In his fourth NBA season, Bridges never missed an NBA game, so he truly was the team’s iron man, but the Suns needed him for his offense on Friday night.
3. Golden State has stepped up its aggression level and paid dividends in many ways. The best example is Kevin Looney.
It is far from the talent of Deandre Ayton. It’s even more evident when Looney isn’t playing with energy like it was on Tuesday night. Ayton earned him 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Three days later, Ayton still posted the best numbers – 23 and six – but Looney made a few key plays, got a messy bucket and tied Ayton on the glass.
That can’t happen for Phoenix, especially when Ayton played 32 minutes versus 15 for Looney.
In short, Looney and the Warriors put the Suns big man to work to the point that when Gary Payton II scored on an inside call, Ayton didn’t even try to block him.
4. Monty Williams was upset after the Suns gave Payton a 3 corner, leading him to request a time-out with 9:33 to go.
The 3 put the Warriors at 15.
Payton is a 28.8% career shooting from the depths, but he entered Friday’s game with 36% of his season 3s. It cannot therefore remain wide open.
Payton scored 16 off the bench, dropping 2 of 4 of 3.
5. Phoenix will have two days between Friday night’s game and Monday’s rematch with the San Antonio Spurs.
Then they will have four days between Monday’s game and next Friday’s action against the Boston Celtics.
Phoenix will therefore have time to let the guys rest as Booker appears to be recovering from his injury.
The Suns have eight games until the Christmas Day battle against Golden State. You’re looking to see how they react to not only the streak ending in an unbalanced loss, but continuing to be shorthanded.
Follow Duane Rankin on Twitter @DuaneRankin.