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Dragic scores career-high 34, Suns beat depleted Warriors

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The Canadian Press
2/8/2014 11:51:30 PM
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PHOENIX -- Goran Dragic had a special person he wanted to impress.

Son Mateo -- age three months and three days -- attended his first NBA game.

"I was a little bit hyped," Dragic said. "I tried to show him what his daddy can do."

As has been the case often in this breakout season, Dragic did a lot, especially when it mattered most.

He scored 13 of his career-high 34 points in the final seven minutes and the Phoenix Suns pulled away to beat the depleted Golden State Warriors 122-109 on Saturday night.

Dragic, who also had 10 assists, topped 30 points for the sixth time this season as the Suns (30-20) pulled a half-game ahead of the Warriors (30-21) for the sixth-best record in the Western Conference.

Gerald Green added 25 points and P.J. Tucker had 16 points and a career-best 15 rebounds for Phoenix.

After two sub-par performances in losses, the Suns might have had their best offensive game, coach Jeff Hornacek said.

"These guys were sharp," he said. "The one thing I told them, especially that fourth quarter, they played smart."

Stephen Curry had 28 points and nine assists and Harrison Barnes scored 23 points for the Warriors, who were without front-line starters Andrew Bogut and David Lee.

Both missed their second straight game, Bogut with left shoulder inflammation, Lee with a left shoulder sprain and left hip strain.

"We are a no-excuse team," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "Obviously we're missing those guys but we still have more than enough to win ball games. Give the credit they played extremely well. They are a very good offensive team."

Dragic, left out of the All-Star game, made 10 of 13 shots. He tied his career best for 3-pointers made with six, in seven attempts. His torrid finish came after he experienced a dizzy spell. After a couple of sports drinks, he felt better.

Dragic said Hornacek has made it clear that when the game is on the line, it's time to step up.

"I was kind of cruising the third quarter," Dragic said. "I just hit one 3 and I was not aggressive enough, and then the fourth quarter I just started playing. I just started feeling good."

Curry was 0 for 3 shooting and scoreless in the fourth quarter.

"They got hot," Curry said. "Gerald Green and Dragic made some big-time shots. We had some shots that spun in and out. It was one of those nights we thought that, besides the boards, we played well all-around. We didn't have timely stops."

Phoenix took the lead for good with the last basket of the opening quarter and was up by as many as 14 in the third but Curry kept the Warriors close. Golden State twice cut it to two in the final quarter, the last time at 102-100 on Jermaine O'Neal's tip-in with 7:55 to play.

Dragic sank two 3s in an 11-2 run that finally put the Suns in control for good, 113-102 on Tucker's basket with just under four minutes to play.

Phoenix outscored Golden State 20-9 over the final 7:33.

The Suns opened the second half with a 13-3 run, taking a 76-62 lead on Tucker's 3-pointer, but Curry scored four and Barnes hit a 3 in a 7-0 spurt that cut it to 78-71 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Golden State outscored the Suns 11-4 over the final two minutes of the quarter to slice Phoenix's lead to 95-90 entering the fourth.

Phoenix led most of the first half but never by more than nine points and was up 63-59 at the break.

Without Bogut and Lee, the Warriors were outrebounded 26-15 in the first half and 45-34 for the game.

"We had to crash the boards," Tucker said. "The boards were key, the paint was key. We know Steph is going to make crazy shots, Klay (Thompson) will get a couple off. That's stuff we can live with. With the boards, not giving up second opportunity points was key and that's what I really wanted to capitalize on tonight."

Notes: The Suns have won 10 in a row in games where Green scored at least 20 points. ... Both teams close out their pre-All Star game schedule at home against Miami, Phoenix on Tuesday and Golden State on Wednesday. ... The Warriors played on the road for only the second time in a stretch of 11 games.

P.J. Tucker and Goran Dragic (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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