Suns whip warriors into battle of NBA elites

PHOENIX – Deandre Ayton scored 24 points, Chris Paul added 15 points and 11 assists, and the Phoenix Suns tied a franchise record of 17 straight wins by defeating the Golden State Warriors 104-96 Tuesday night in an early showdown between the top teams of the NBA.

The Suns won despite losing goalkeeper Devin Booker following a left hamstring injury in the second quarter. He had 10 points and two rebounds in 15 minutes. The 25-year-old appeared to be injured when he rode to the court for a layup, and grabbed on the back of his left leg before going to the locker room for a few minutes for rest.

Even without Booker, the Suns led 56-54 at halftime and 80-78 in the fourth quarter. The game remained tight, and neither team led by double figures until Landry Shamet hit a 3-pointer – on an assist from Paul – with 54.4 seconds left.

It was a highly anticipated showdown, as Suns and Warriors have the best records in the NBA. It was also the first time in league history that two teams from the same division played each other with winning percentages of .850 or higher after at least 20 regular matches, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Deandre Ayton seems to be making a move on Draymond Green during the Suns' 104-96 victory over the Warriors.
Deandre Ayton seems to be making a move on Draymond Green during the Suns’ 104-96 victory over the Warriors.

The game mostly lived up to the hype – at least until the Warriors, who had broken their winning streak of seven games, went cold in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Poole led Golden State with 28 points. Stephen Curry – who averaged 28.6 points per game in the game – had 12 points on 4 of 21 shots, including 3 of 14 from 3-point range.

The Suns limited the Warriors to just 42 points in the second half.

The Suns and Warriors are now both 18-3. The only other time Phoenix has won 17 games in a row was in the 2006-07 season. They will go on Thursday for their franchise record 18th victory against the Pistons.

The Suns had not lost since October. 27 when Harrison Barnes hit a game-winning 3 at the buzzer for the Sacramento Kings.

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