Warriors, Suns search for positives before break

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The Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors, two teams trying to find wins as bottom dwellers in the Western Conference, face each other Wednesday night in Phoenix in the last game before the All-Star break for each.

The Warriors, with their 42nd loss Monday, assured themselves of not finishing with a .500 or better record for the first time since the 2011-2012. The latest defeat was a 113-101 decision against the visiting Miami Heat.

Golden State holds the worst road record in the NBA at 5-23 and is just 1-7 against Pacific Division opponents this season. That one win was a 105-96 decision against Phoenix at home on Dec. 27.

Damion Lee scored 26 points to lead Golden State against the Heat. The Warriors fought back from a 24-point, second-quarter deficit to make it a four-point game in the second half, but the rally fell short.

“In the second half, the guys were great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They competed, they played with pace, played with energy and climbed back in the game, but in the end we didn’t have enough.

“We were playing against a team that needed a win badly. They lost three in a row … and they came out and took it to us right away.”

Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points in his second game with the Warriors after being acquired in a trade with Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell. He put up 24 points in his Golden State debut, a 125-120 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

The Suns lost to the Lakers 125-100 on Monday, their third defeat to the Lakers in three meetings this season. Phoenix was without center Deandre Ayton because ankle injury, and Kelly Oubre Jr. opened the game on the bench.

Ayton is questionable for the Wednesday game.

Oubre was being disciplined Monday for being late for the team bus to the game, according to multiple reports. A bright spot in a disappointing season for the Suns, Oubre came off the bench for the first time this season, and he scored 10 points in 27 minutes.

“Coach had to do what he had to do in order to keep the discipline going,” Oubre said, according to the Arizona Republic. “That’s not something that we pride ourselves on. Always try to be on time. I can just take it on the chin and learn from it and vow for it to not happen again, but I’m happy Cam (Johnson) played well to start the game off. Next man up.”

Johnson, a rookie making his first start, produced eight points in 22 minutes.

Leading scorer Devin Booker had an off night, scoring 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. The Suns’ best highlight of the night was Johnson’s powerful dunk over the Lakers’ JaVale McGee early in the game.

Phoenix, which has lost six of its past seven games, is looking to go into the All-Star break on a positive note.

“We’ve got to get that one before the break, there’s no excuses,” forward Cheick Diallo said.

–Field Level Media

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