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Thursday February 2nd, 2023 7:14PM

Curry scores 50 points, but Suns beat Warriors 130-119

By The Associated Press
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PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker stepped back for a 3-pointer in the closing minute of the third quarter as Golden State's Stephen Curry gamely tried to stay with him, putting a hand in his face. Booker made the shot anyway as a frustrated Curry dropped his head.

No matter how many points the Warriors superstar scored, the Suns came right back with an answer.

Cameron Payne had a career-high 29 points, Booker added 27 and Phoenix easily overcame Curry’s 50-point night to beat struggling Golden State 130-119 on Wednesday. All five Suns starters scored in double figures.

“It's important to have a team,” Booker said about the balanced production. “That gives you longevity and will get us through a season.”

The Suns controlled most of the game despite Curry's scoring. The eight-time All-Star made 17 of 28 shots, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range.

The problem for the Warriors was nobody else was helping. Klay Thompson finished with 19 points but shot just 6 of 17. The Warriors — defending NBA champs — fell to 6-9 for the season, including 0-8 on the road.

Curry didn't have much to say about his 50 points, instead focusing on the team's struggles.

“Losing becomes a habit if you don’t fix it,” Curry said. “We avoided that for a very long time. We are very aware of who we are and our potential. The losing does get old really quick.”

Said Warriors coach Steve Kerr: “I think for right now, we are just scattered. It's a pickup game. It's a pickup game out there.”

Curry's scoring prowess is expected, but it was countered by one of the best games of Payne's career. Starting in place of the injured Chris Paul, the 6-foot-3 guard made 9 of 17 shots, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.

Coach Monty Williams praised Payne's play but also criticized the guard's late-game decisions, including picking up a flagrant foul.

“Cam can score the ball and he had seven assists to go with it,” Williams said. “But in closing moments, he has to be better. We don't need all that silliness at the end of games.”

The Suns led 103-89 going into the fourth quarter. The Warriors quickly cut into that margin but couldn't get closer than eight points. Damion Lee hit back-to-back 3-pointers against his former team to keep the Suns comfortably ahead.

The Suns shot 21 of 40 (52.5%) from 3-point range and had 33 assists. Mikal Bridges had 23 points and a career-high nine assists. Torrey Craig added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

HOT FIRST HALF

It was a frenetic first half with both teams shooting very well — particularly behind the arc. The Suns led 72-65 at the break, with Curry scoring 31 points. Payne had 18 for the Suns and Booker had 16.

Curry was at his best in the first half, making 10 of 13 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 3-pointers. The two-time MVP came into the game averaging about 31 points per game and hit that mark with a free throw near the end of the second quarter.

“Steph is going to have Steph moments,” Williams said.

The Warriors were basically at full strength while the Suns were missing two injured starters — Paul and Cam Johnson — and a key reserve in Landry Shamet.

The two teams were playing again a little more than three weeks after the Suns beat the Warriors by nearly 30 points. That game was notable for seven technical fouls and a verbal spat between Booker and Thompson that eventually resulted in Thompson's first career ejection.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Kevon Looney scored 10 points in the first half on 5 of 5 shooting. ... Curry was called for a technical in the third quarter. ... Curry passed Mitch Richmond for 49th on the NBA career scoring list.

Suns: Paul (right heel soreness), Shamet (concussion) and Johnson (right meniscus tear) didn't play. ... Debuted special blue City Edition uniforms as part of a night to honor Arizona's Tribal Nations. ... The team was called for a technical foul in the first half after getting called for two delay of games. ... Hosted their 34th consecutive sellout crowd.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Host New York on Friday night.

Suns: At Utah on Friday night.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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