Barnes' shot lifts Warriors to 107-106 win over Suns
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Harrison Barnes made two huge defensive mistakes in the final minute. He redeemed himself and the Golden State Warriors with one big shot.
That's just how things have gone for Golden State this season.
Barnes hit a running shot in the lane with less than a second remaining, lifting the Warriors to a wild 107-106 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
''Coach (Steve) Kerr kind of looked at me after I made the shot like, `You messed up on those two defensive possessions, but it's OK,''' Barnes said, chuckling.
That's all the Warriors could do following the game - laugh it off.
Barnes' big shot came after Eric Bledsoe broke free for a reverse layup - when Barnes should've rotated to the basket - to put Phoenix ahead with 4.5 seconds to play. And Bledsoe's layup followed Stephen Curry's go-ahead 3-pointer that seemingly sent the Warriors ahead for good.
Instead, it took all 48 minutes for the NBA-leading Warriors (62-13) to extend their latest winning streak to 11 games. They fell behind by four under 3 minutes to play and traded scores with the fading Suns (38-38) in a furious finish.
With little left to play for other than pride, the Warriors continued their franchise-record roll toward the playoffs - though it was anything but smooth. Curry collected 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Klay Thompson scored 16 and Barnes had just four - none bigger than his last.
Barnes caught the ball off an inbounds pass and dribbled toward the basket. With Archie Goodwin guarding him and Bledsoe trying to strip the ball, Barnes rose up and finished from 5 feet out to finish off Phoenix.
''It was probably good for us to feel that situation,'' Kerr said, ''and have to deal with the pressure.''
Bledsoe had 18 points and 11 assists, and Markieff Morris had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Brandan Wright added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost five in a row. And while Phoenix is still mathematically in the race for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, its postseason hopes are all but finished.
''It was a tough one to swallow,'' Wright said. ''We're not quitting. We're hanging on by a small, small thread.''
The Warriors already have secured the top playoff seed in the West and are closing in on clinching the NBA's best record over East-leading Atlanta. Even with a huge lead in the standings, Kerr said he has no plans to rest his players and motivation hasn't been a problem, either.
But it looked like it for most of the game.
Warren, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth, made a reverse layup that started a three-point play that put Phoenix up 89-88 with 5:33 remaining. Curry answered with a 3-pointer, and Tucker followed with another from beyond the arc as the teams traded baskets.
Bledsoe's 3 extended Phoenix's lead to 98-94 with 2:32 left. And after the Suns missed a chance to create more separation, Curry connected on a pull-up 3-pointer.
The teams traded scores again before Warren banked in a turnaround fadeaway to give the Suns a 102-99 lead. Two possessions later, Curry found Thompson in transition for a tying 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 34.7 seconds remaining.
But the drama had just begun. Tucker converted a reverse layup for another go-ahead score for Phoenix before a wild sequence ensued:
Curry missed a shot, Bogut's tip-back rimmed out, Barnes missed a runner and Bogut came up with a rebound and tossed it out to Thompson, who found a wide-open Curry in the corner. Curry's 3o put the Warriors up with 6.8 seconds left, sending the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 into a frenzy and chanting ''M-V-P!''
Just a few seconds later, Bledsoe rolled off a high screen to the basket to beat Thompson for a reverse layup. But Barnes came through when the Warriors needed him most, erasing all Golden State had done wrong - and everything Phoenix had done so well.
''It's kind of the way our season has been going,'' Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. ''We made plays, but didn't get a stop. Both teams were scoring at the end and they got the last shot.''
Kerr tied Paul Westphal and Tom Thibodeau for the most wins by a rookie coach. Westphal went 62-20 with the Phoenix Suns in the 1992-93 season, and Thibodeau guided the Chicago Bulls to the same record in 2010-11.
Suns: Brandon Knight missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Alex Len sat out after breaking his nose in Phoenix's loss at Portland on Monday.
Warriors: Draymond Green sat out for the third straight game to rest his shins. ... The Warriors are an NBA-best 35-2 at home.
Warriors: At Dallas on Saturday.
Suns: Host Jazz on Saturday.