In an early clash between the NBA’s top teams, Deandre Ayton scored 24 points, Chris Paul added 15 points and 11 assists, and the Phoenix Suns equalled a franchise record of 17 straight wins by defeating the Golden State Warriors 104-96 on Tuesday night.
Despite losing star point guard Devin Booker to a left hamstring injury in the second quarter, the Suns prevailed. In 15 minutes, he had 10 points and two boards. The 25-year-old seemed to be injured while driving to the basket for a layup, holding the back of his left leg and limping to the locker room just before halftime.
The Suns lead 56-54 at halftime and 80-78 going into the fourth quarter, even without Booker. The game was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than ten points until Landry Shamet hit a 3-pointer with 54.4 seconds left on an assist from Paul.
Because the Suns and Warriors have the best records in the NBA, it was a highly anticipated matchup. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was also the first time in league history that two teams from the same division played each other with winning percentages of.850 or greater after at least 20 regular-season games.
The game generally lived up to the expectation — at least until the Warriors’ seven-game winning streak was interrupted in the fourth quarter, when they went cold.
Golden State was led by Jordan Poole, who scored 28 points. Stephen Curry, who averaged 28.6 points per game entering the contest, scored 12 points on 4 of 21 shooting, including 3 of 14 from 3-point range.
In the second half, the Suns held the Warriors to just 42 points.
Both the Suns and the Warriors are currently 18-3. Phoenix has only won 17 straight games once before, in the 2006-07 season. On Thursday, they’ll go for their franchise-record 18th win against the Pistons.
The Suns hadn’t lost since the Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes scored a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer on Oct. 27.