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Dragic’s 34 boost Suns over Warriors

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PHOENIX — With his infant son at a basketball game for the first time, Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic showed him that daddy does not need a lot of shots to score a lot of points.

The red-hot Dragic continued his offensive eruptions with a career-high 34 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field, including 6-of-7 3-pointers and two during an 11-2 run midway through the fourth quarter as the Suns put away the Golden State Warriors 122-109 on Saturday night.

Guard Gerald Green added 25 points and forward P.J. Tucker had 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as the Suns snapped a two-game losing streak before a season-high crowd of 18,846 at US Airways Center and beat the Warriors for the second time in three meetings this season.

“(Three-month old) Mateo, my son, it was his first game and I was a little bit hyped,” Dragic said. “I tried to show him what his daddy can do. We had to win that game, especially after two losses.”

It has been almost 44 years since a Phoenix player has scored that many points on so few shots from the field. On St. Patrick’s Day in 1970, guard Gail Goodrich was 10 of 13 from the floor and added 16 of 18 free throws as the Suns beat the San Francisco Warriors.

Dragic added 10 assists in the game. Snubbed for the Western Conference All-Star team, Dragic now has 20 or more points in seven straight games.

With the win, the Suns (30-20) moved past the Warriors (30-21) into second place in the Pacific Division and sixth overall in the Western Conference.

“He got it going and he’s a guy like that,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “I said before the game, he’s got a case to be made that he should be on the All-Star Game the way he’s playing. He’s making great decisions out there, whether it be scoring for himself or making plays. He made it tough on our defense.”

Dragic received a standing ovation from the crowd as he left the game after playing 40 minutes.

“He made some big ones there in the fourth quarter,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He played the whole second half, so I think he was in a daze. I kept asking him, ‘Do you want to come out?’ and he told me, ‘No, coach, I’ll stay.’

“He was fantastic tonight. Not only did he score, he got assists. That’s what we need him to do as a point guard.”

The Suns lost by 14 points at Houston on Wednesday, only the fourth time this season they have lost by double-digits. But they have rebounded to win the next game each time.

Guard Stephen Curry had 28 points and nine assist for the Warriors, who played without starting center Andre Bogut (shoulder) and forward David Lee (shoulder, hip).

“We are a no-excuse team,” Jackson said. “Obviously, we miss those guys, but we still have more than enough to win ballgames. Give them credit, they played extremely well.”

Forward Harrison Barnes added 23 points for the Warriors, who were 9-2 on the road since losing to the Suns in Phoenix on Dec. 15.

The Warriors pulled within two points at 102-100 on a tip-in by center Jermaine O’Neal with 7:55 left. But Dragic followed a Tucker hook shot with a 3-pointer, then followed a Tucker free throw with a 25-footer with 4:23 left.

Golden State never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

“It wasn’t like we played bad defense on any of those shots,” Curry said of Dragic’s 3-pointers down the stretch. “They were dagger shots. A big-time player made big-time shots, so we’ll tip our cap to him.”

Dragic had 10 points in the first quarter and put the Suns up 16-8 with a step-back 17-footer with 6:31 to go. They still led 27-20 after a dunk by Green off a Dragic feed with 2:42 left, but the Warriors ended the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the Phoenix lead to one.

With the score tied at 39, the Suns reeled off an 11-2 run with a 3-pointer by Dragic, boosting the Phoenix lead to 50-41 with 5:07 left.

But Curry, who had 10 points in the quarter, followed a 19-foot jumper with two 3-pointers, the second one cutting the Phoenix lead to 57-54 with 2:00 left. Green had Phoenix’s final six points of the quarter and his free throw with three-tenths of a second left gave the Suns a 63-59 lead at the half.

The Suns led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but the Warriors chopped the lead to five at 95-90 on two free throws for guard Jordan Crawford with 1.6 seconds left.

NOTES: The Suns have more home wins against Golden State (86) than any other team. … Bogut and Lee combine to average 27.1 points and 20.4 rebounds per game. … Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said he did not sense any concern from his team after losing two straight, including the club’s fourth loss by double digits, in Houston on Wednesday. “All of a sudden everybody else thinks you’re going to win every game,” he said. “It’s the NBA. All these teams have a tendency to lose a few. We had a hard practice (Friday) and it was a good practice. I don’t think our guys think that much about it.” … Suns F Markieff Morris came in with 12 consecutive double-figure scoring efforts, the longest run of his career. He is a big reason the Suns rank fifth in bench scoring (37.7 ppg). Morris struggled on Saturday, going scoreless in 17 minutes.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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