Steph Curry scored 50 points for the 11th time in his NBA career, but his efforts weren’t enough for the struggling Golden State Warriors against the Phoenix Suns as the defending champions went down 130-119.
The Warriors are now 6-9 on the season and winless from eight games on the road – a troubling sign as the team looks to win a fifth title since 2015.
This is the longest road losing streak by a defending champion since the Chicago Bulls in the 1998/99 season, according to ESPN, and the Warriors’ longest losing streak on the road at the start of a season since 1989/90.
“We’re never going to panic, there’s no point in panicking,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after Wednesday’s game.
“What we have to do is stay with it and find it. But in order to find it, we’ve got to get everybody on board, on the same page in terms of just worrying about winning – and that’s it.
“I saw a lot of hanging heads tonight,” he added. “I think we’re feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Despite the loss, it was a historic night for Curry, who was 17-of-28 from the field and 7-of-11 from three-point range along with grabbing nine rebounds and six assists.
In the process, he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and tied Allen Iverson for the ninth-most 50-plus point games in the history of the NBA.
Klay Thompson had 19 points and Andrew Wiggins had 14, whereas the Suns, by contrast, had a far more balanced attack with all five of their starters recording double figures.
Cameron Payne scored a career-high 29 points – including six three-pointers – while Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges, who finished just shy of a triple-double with nine assists and nine rebounds, each added 27 and 23 points respectively.
Phoenix, without an injured Chris Paul for the fourth straight game and up against a free-scoring Curry, controlled much of the contest and led by a comfortable 14-point margin at the end of the third quarter.
”It’s important to have a team,” Booker said about the even scoring distribution throughout the team. ”That gives you longevity and will get us through a season.”
The win saw the Suns, second behind the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference standings, improve to 9-5 on the season.
They next visit the Utah Jazz on Friday while the Warriors welcome the New York Knicks.