"I just gambled bad. It's just plain and simple. I was thinking I was supposed to switch with a guy and we didn't switch."
Bradley Beal on Steph Curry game winning 3.
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 11, 2024
“If I didn't have this d–n mask on, I would've gotten that,” said Beal, who had 15 points but missed an open three that would have given the Suns a five-point lead just before Curry's triple to put Golden State in front for good.
Phoenix had 30 points in the fourth quarter, a positive sign since it is the worst fourth-quarter team by many calculations this year. Unfortunately for the Suns, Beal, Durant — who had 24 points on 10-of-25 shooting — and guard Grayson Allen combined to shoot 21-of-52 (40.3 percent).
Beal's 15-point game snapped a streak of three consecutive 25-plus point games for him.
Phoenix is now sixth in the West. It is 31-22 and on Saturday incorporated former Brooklyn Nets forward and Durant teammate Royce O'Neale, who it acquired at the end of the trade deadline for three second-round picks, Keita Bates-Diop and Jordan Goodwin, both of whom did not meet expected roles.
O'Neale is someone who could become the Suns' fifth starter, not only because of his defense and height — he is taller than Allen at 6-foot-6 — but because he has started 29 playoff games through his NBA career.
O'Neale hit a 3-pointer and also had four rebounds, a steal and a block in the Suns' defeat.
Saturday's game was one of the best of the season. Unfortunately, center Jusuf Nurkic and forward Draymond Green, who had a Flagrant 2 moment in the Suns' 119-116 win over Golden State Dec. 13, stirred the pot in their rivalry with one another.
“He doesn't deserve a chance,” Nurkic said of Green, who was suspended 12 games after the incident with Nurkic. “Antics. Try to hit people and stuff he should not do.”
ClutchPoints has more to come on the Suns-Warriors thriller.