Warriors keep close to Suns but fall short in 112-106 loss
PHOENIX — Warriors center Marquese Chriss stood above his opponent, staring down through a villainous facemask.
Chriss, who started in the Warriors’ 112-106 loss to the Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday, has come a long way since his rookie season in Phoenix. His block of Suns forward Jonah Bolden’s layup in the second quarter underscored the confidence Chriss has found in Golden State.
In his eighth consecutive start at center, Chriss continued to show why the Warriors are excited about his long-term fit. His athleticism, feel for the game and willingness to play his role have provided the Warriors with a valuable lob threat and developing rim protector.
However, Chriss’ game reflected what went wrong for the Warriors (12-43) in their final game before the All-Star break. Though he finished with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks, he also turned the ball over three times.
Overall, the Warriors shot 50.6% and totaled 27 assists, but committed 22 turnovers that led to 32 points for the Suns (22-33) and 14 fewer shot attempts. They also had a hard time containing Suns guard Devin Booker (27 points, eight assists and five rebounds).
Despite the Warriors’ struggles, they still had a chance to win late after Chriss’ and-1 layup cut Phoenix’s 11-point, fourth-quarter lead to four with 6:07 remaining. However, that would be as close as the Warriors would get.
After falling into a 10-point hole after a first quarter in which nine turnovers led to 13 points for the Suns, the Warriors outscored them 82-78, though that early deficit proved too much to overcome.
As has often been the case this season, there were several promising performances in Golden State’s loss. Making his first start at point guard, rookie Jordan Poole had 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting and three assists in 32 minutes.
Eric Paschall, who will compete in Friday’s Rising Stars challenge over the All-Star break, went for 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, with six rebounds and two assists.
Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins, in his third game since being acquired by the Warriors in last week’s blockbuster trade with the Timberwolves, finished with 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting (3 for 4 from 3-point range), four rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals in 34 minutes.
Jeremy Pargo (15 points on 6-of-11 shooting and two assists), a 33-year-old guard, also impressed in what could be his last game before his 10-day contract expires.
For the rest of this lottery-bound season, the Warriors will continue to prioritize acclimating Wiggins and developing players, like Chriss, who can play a role next season.
Curry is taking part in some of the non-contact portions of practice as he works back from a broken left hand, such as “offensive 5-on-0 stuff,” head coach Steve Kerr said.
The Warriors plan another medical update for the two-time MVP on Feb. 28. Curry has said he hopes to play next month as planned if all goes well.
“He’s coming around,” Kerr said after shootaround earlier Wednesday. “Right now everything’s going smoothly and he’s just trying to build his conditioning base and trying to keep getting better.”
There’s not a specific date for when Curry will return to contact drills.