Stephen Curry believes the Phoenix Suns showed why they are Western Conference champions after the Golden State Warriors were defeated on Tuesday.
Phoenix (18-3) moved level with the Warriors at the top of the table with a 104-96 triumph, their record-equalling 17th straight win, matching the previous franchise-best set in 2006-07.
The Suns' defence proved vital for the win, limiting Golden State to just 61 points after quarter-time as Curry and Draymond Green finished with only 12 and eight points respectively.
Curry, who converted a meagre 4-for-21 from the field, insisted post-game that Monty Williams' side showed their championship credentials as the pair now sit with identical 18-3 records at the top of the Western Conference.
"Losses definitely jolt the system a bit," Curry told reporters at the post-game news conference. "Credit to their length and multiple efforts.
"We'd rather win, but they're the Western Conference reigning champions for a reason. They're good.
"With all of the mistakes we did have and how terrible I shot the ball, it was a close game down the stretch. I know [Devin] Booker got hurt, but yes, it was a good learning lesson for us. Understanding the intensity and the focus we need to beat a team like that.''
17 IN A ROW. RECORD TYING. pic.twitter.com/z3mqO3sIxQ— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 1, 2021
The Warriors were held below the 100-point mark for the first time this season and it was also the first time they have not managed a century in 43 games.
The Suns had veteran guard Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges to thank for a large portion of Golden State's season-high 22 turnovers and losing coach Steve Kerr appreciated the defensive job the opposition produced.
"They frustrated us with the pick-and-roll," Steve Kerr said to reporters. "They did a really good job on Steph and Draymond in the pick-and-roll.
"It just didn't feel like we executed some of the other stuff. Then it felt to me like we were in a rush constantly. Teams are going to commit people to Steph the way that Phoenix did.
"There are going to be openings. There are going to be openings for Jordan [Poole], openings for Otto [Porter Jr.].
"There are going to be openings for Klay Thompson. That's going to be fun. [There is] a lot to look forward to, but the main thing we need to take from this is that we must get better.
"We played the Western Conference champions. They were the better team. We play them again in a few days. Let's see if we can make some improvements and carry that forward."