The NBA has run out of unbeaten teams just a couple weeks into the season after the Suns rolled to a 107-95 win over the Warriors on Sunday night. Phoenix used a dominant 36-16 fourth quarter rally to surprise Golden State with its first loss of the season.
Unlike a year ago, when the Pacers opened with nine straight wins, the league's final remaining unbeaten couldn't sustain its winning streak as far into the season. The absence of Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, who looked like a breakout candidate in the first five games, on Sunday due to a hand injury probably had something to do with it.
The Warriors were actually in control of the game for the first three quarters, taking a double-digit lead into halftime that Phoenix could only whittle to eight by the end of the third. However, Golden State completely unraveled from there, especially on the defensive end, where the Suns ran circles around a typically strong unit.
FanDuel Fantasy Basketball
FanDuel Fantasy Basketball
Isaiah Thomas was the big star of the comeback, scoring 15 of his team-leading 22 points in the final 12 minutes. Rebounding from a poor performance against his former team on Friday night, the sixth man stepped up and gave his usual burst of offensive energy despite a poor shooting night (4-of-13). The Dubs just couldn't stop IT's penetration, and he ended up going 13-of-14 from the charity stripe as a result of drawing fouls.
The Suns' defense also deserves credit after an impressive performance, which saw Golden State cough up possession 26 times while recording just 16 assists. Phoenix is known for its aggressive brand of defense, and on Sunday, that translated into a ton of turnovers for the opponent. Stephen Curry had his first double-digit turnover game since Halloween 2013.
Not everyone played well for Phoenix, including Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker, but it was something of a statement game for a team that's still on the cusp of being considered a legitimate playoff team in the West. Golden State has been as dominant as any team in the league so far this season, and on Sunday, the Suns absolutely walloped them over the final 12 minutes.
Three Other Things We Learned
Miami can still win tough road games.
The Heat might be rolling out a starting lineup featuring Norris Cole and Shawne Williams these days, but a 105-96 win in Dallas on Sunday bumped the team's record to 5-2 early this season. The trio of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng carried the team against the Mavericks, combining for 70 points on 29-of-47 (62-percent) shooting.
This was just the latest impressive performance from Miami, which appears to be settling in as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference despite losing LeBron James over the summer. The Heat shot 55 percent from the floor Sunday while holding the Mavs to 42-percent shooting, and this one wasn't even as close as it looks. Dallas made a late run in the fourth quarter, but the lead had ballooned to 22 points by then.
The Thunder aren't totally hopeless.
Things look admittedly dire for Oklahoma City in the early going without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook -- both lost to injury -- but the team showed some signs of life in a 101-93 victory over Sacramento on Sunday. The Kings had been going in the opposite direction of late, winning five of their first six, but faltered on the road at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Reggie Jackson, who got freezed out of the Thunder offense a week ago in a loss to Brooklyn, led the way with 22 points and six assists. Jeremy Lamb was also productive, with 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while the bench duo of Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins combined for 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting. The Kings struggled other than a third quarter rally, with DeMarcus Cousins being held to 16 points and seven rebounds, both season-lows.
Even the Lakers can put together 12 dominant minutes
It appeared Los Angeles would coast its way to a sixth consecutive loss Sunday night after the Hornets jumped out to a 51-42 lead at halftime. Turns out they were actually due for a big quarter, torching Charlotte, 34-13, over the next 12 minutes en route to a 107-92 win on Sunday night.
Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin combined for 22 points in the unexpected L.A. outburst, which was helped by a Hornets offense that went stagnant in the third period. The Lakers have been easily the worst defensive team in the league this season, allowing nearly 118 points per 100 possessions entering the game, but held Charlotte to 44-percent shooting on Sunday. Here's to guessing Steve Clifford will have something to say about that during practice.
Play of the Night
This play really has a little of everything. First, you have James Johnson, Raptors forward, absolutely slamming one home on Brandon Davies. That alone makes for a pretty spectacular highlight. But then, in a way only Toronto could celebrate, we get fired up Drake rocking a sweater-glasses combo that should be reserved for people visiting the library. Or Tobias Fünke.