The Golden State Warriors sit atop the Western Conference and are rolling toward the All-Star break after sitting out the NBA trade deadline madness. The Phoenix Suns, who host the Warriors on Friday, are planning for the future and were more active in front of the deadline while searching for a backcourt partner for star Devin Booker.
Golden State is expected to be in the market for a veteran player on a buyout in the near future but won't do anything to mess with a core that saw it win three of the last four championships and 13 of the last 14 games, including a 141-102 drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. "It's the NBA, and there's talent all over the floor, so it doesn't always click," All-Star point guard Stephen Curry told reporters after handing out seven of the team's 42 assists against the Spurs. "But when it does, it's fun out there. It's electric, and the crowd gets into it." The Suns are at the other end of the West standings and dropped their 12th straight game with a 116-88 loss at the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. "They really turned it up in the fourth," Phoenix rookie center Deandre Ayton told reporters. "When we were trading baskets here and there being competitive, it looked like it was a good game, but they just took off. They just stopped it right then and there."
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), FS Arizona (Phoenix) LINE: Warriors -14.5
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (38-15): While Golden State's core will remain intact through the rest of this season and a likely deep playoff run, next season is not quite as certain with superstar forward Kevin Durant and All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson expected to enter free agency this summer. Durant collected 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in Wednesday's win but used his postgame press conference to bemoan media speculation about his future. "I'm trying to play basketball," Durant told reporters. "Y'all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches. You rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball. That's all I'm saying. And now when I don't wanna talk to y'all, it's a problem with me."
ABOUT THE SUNS (11-45): Phoenix dealt with a series of rumors surrounding its young players prior to the deadline but in the end shipped out veteran forward Ryan Anderson, who was not part of the team's rotation, to the Miami Heat in exchange for guards Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington. While Ellington is not part of the team's future, Johnson could serve as a backcourt mate for Booker and averaged 10.8 points on 42.6 percent shooting in 44 games for Miami. Booker sat out Wednesday's loss to the Jazz with a hamstring injury and is day-to-day.
1. Suns SF Josh Jackson is averaging 25.7 points over the last three games.
2. Thompson is 21-of-28 from the floor over the last two contests.
3. Golden State took the last 17 meetings, including eight straight in Phoenix.
PREDICTION: Warriors 132, Suns 112 Bet Now
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