The host Phoenix Suns finished the NBA’s first half in second place in the Western Conference after shellacking the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors 120-98 on Thursday.
One year after tying for ninth in the West, the Suns used their 16th victory in their past 19 games to take a 24-11 record into the break. They sit one game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers (24-13) and 1 1/2 up on the Los Angeles Clippers (24-14).
The Suns trail only the Utah Jazz (27-9).
Facing a team that was resting Curry and Draymond Green after a rough loss at Portland the night before, the Suns were never seriously challenged by the Warriors.
Phoenix used a 12-3 burst to close the first quarter with an 11-point advantage, then went up by as many as 20 en route to a 62-51 halftime advantage.
In losing a third straight game for the first time this season, the Warriors got no closer than seven in the second half.
Reserve Cameron Payne led seven Suns in double figures with 17 points to go with a game-high 10 assists. Fellow backups Abdel Nader and Dario Saric had 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Devin Booker scored 16 points, Jae Crowder 14, Deandre Ayton 11 and Chris Paul 10 for the Suns, who outshot the Warriors 51 percent to 43.2 percent.
Ayton added a team-high 10 rebounds.
Jordan Poole, recalled from the G League earlier in the week, poured in a career-high 26 points in 26 minutes off the bench for the Warriors, who wrapped up the first half 19-18.
Poole shot 10-for-16 from the floor and 5-for-10 on 3-point attempts.
Andrew Wiggins had 16 points and James Wiseman contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds for Golden State, which also was beaten 114-93 at Phoenix on Jan. 28.
The Warriors were without not only Curry and Green but also Kelly Oubre Jr., who sprained his left wrist at practice on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media