Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser is tasked with formulating the game plan against the Suns Tuesday, no small task considering Phoenix is riding a 16-game winning streak. The NBA’s top two teams will clash Tuesday in the desert before flying up to the Bay for another matchup Friday at Chase Center.
During a chat with 95.7 The Game’s “Willard & Dibs” Monday morning, Fraser discussed the challenge that lies ahead with this week’s matchups, while also sharing his reaction to Steph Curry’s referee outburst in Sunday’s win. Check out the full interview below:
While the 17-3 Suns are scorching hot, they still trail the Warriors by a half game in the standings. Golden State’s early-season success has been a well-rounded effort, as it features the second-highest rated offense (113 offensive rating) and the NBA’s top defense (99.4 defensive rating).
“You can feel that Warrior culture within them,” Fraser said, “where they play selflessly on the offensive side, moving the ball in space and then defensively we’re very, very capable of what we’ve done so far. Phoenix will really test us because they’ll stretch you, they’ve got great shooting and they’ve got [Deandre] Ayton. … And Chris Paul puts it all together.”
Fraser said Phoenix probably represents the Warriors’ toughest opponent so far this season. The Suns currently have the NBA’s seventh-best offense by rating (110.8) with Paul pulling the strings. He and Curry have met 50 times in their careers, with Steph carrying a 28-22 advantage into Tuesday night. Shooting guard Devin Booker (23.9 points per game) leads a balanced attack from the perimeter while the big man Ayton is averaging 15.4 points and 11.5 rebounds this season.
It may be a huge early-season game, but Fraser said the contest holds more weight than the final score after 48 minutes.
“I think it’s a big game for both teams,” Fraser said. “Does the result matter? I would say not as much, but the game itself matters. When I say result matters -- as far as standings or what happens at the end of the year -- but as far as just the opponent that you may see in the playoffs and two teams that are playing the best in the league, it’s a meaningful game. Both teams -- my guess is it’ll be a playoff-type like atmosphere in Phoenix.”