SAN FRANCISCO– As soon as Bradley Beal rushed on the steal to try to keep the ball from Stephen Curry with 3.3 seconds remaining, the Phoenix goalkeeper knew it was a bad bet.
“He’s the best to ever shoot it,” Beal said. “So you know the outcome after that.”
Brandin Podziemski’s inside pass reached Curry. And with Beal out of the game, Curry hit a 33-footer to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Suns 113-112 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory and sixth in seven games.
“I just tried to make him understand,” Podziemski said. “It doesn’t matter how long it took.”
Curry was able to turn around and said it was “just muscle memory to shoot.”
“You live with it,” Curry said. “Luckily, it worked.”
Curry finished with 30 points, nine 3-pointers.
“Only one shot I think he would take,” Podziemski said. “A regular person would probably do a dribble or something.”
It was Curry’s 10th career game-winning shot with five seconds or less.
The Warriors have had six games decided by one point and are 17-18 in their league-leading 35 deciding games this season. All four games against the Suns this season have been decisive games.
“We were expected,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We had to go to one of those close games. But the guys deserved it. This did not happen by chance.
Devin Booker led Phoenix with 32 points and Kevin Durant had 24. The Suns had two chances after Curry’s 3-pointer, but Booker was fouled under the basket on the first and Durant didn’t couldn’t shoot the second one.
“We just weren’t at our best,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “We played a really good basketball game, played well enough to beat those guys. A play in the last two seconds changes the result.
Durant, who won two championships as Curry’s teammate on the Warriors, knew all too well what an open shot meant to Curry.
“You give him a look like that for the game, he’s licking his lips,” Durant said. “I still think we could have made that flight. It’s a difficult game. Sometimes guys are really great.
Golden State avoided being swept by the Suns in the season series to return to .500 for the first time since December 25.
The Warriors led 84-82 early in the fourth quarter. Booker gave the Suns a 112-110 lead with 35 seconds left on a turnover.
Jonathan Kuminga added 21 points for Golden State. Draymond Green had 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Royce O’Neale, acquired at the trade deadline, made his debut for the Suns, scoring three points. David Roddy, Phoenix’s other acquisition, did not play.
Gary Payton, who missed the last 16 games with a left hamstring strain, returned for the Warriors. He had 11 points.
Green, who had stayed away from technical fouls since returning from an indefinite suspension in January, committed a technical foul while pleading for a foul after making a layup in the third quarter.
Green also exchanged words and taunts throughout the game with Suns center Jusuf Nurkic. Player Green was suspended for punching him in the face on December 12.
“It’s sad,” Nurkic said. “He didn’t learn anything. It’s just a matter of time. He’s going to hit someone else again. I take back everything I said. He doesn’t deserve any chance.
Green, in response, thought he was “pretty good tonight, honestly.”
Suns: Host Sacramento Tuesday night.
Warriors: At Utah Monday night. ___
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