And just like that, the high from the biggest win of the season is gone.
All the good feelings the Warriors created with a three-game winning streak, capped by a win over the Chicago Bulls, was erased by Monday's 104-92 home loss to Phoenix.
"We played terrible," guard Monta Ellis said. "It was embarrassing the way we came out and played. We had been playing great, and to come out here and put on a performance like this is very disappointing."
The Suns, led by a Hall of Fame-bound point guard Steve Nash, were a different beast from the Bulls squad the Warriors tamed on Saturday.
Phoenix shot 50 percent for the first three quarters and finished with six players in double-figures, leaving the Warriors scrambling all over the court. And the Warriors didn't have the offense to keep up.
Ellis led the Warriors with 21 points and 12 rebounds, but he was 5 for 17 from the field. David Lee had 16 points and 10 rebounds but didn't score in the second half. Point guard Stephen Curry had 15 points and eight assists, but he was 0 for 6 from 3-point range with five turnovers. Small forward Dorell Wright needed 13 shots to get nine points.
"To hold that team to 92 points was really gratifying to us," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Because that's one of the best offensive teams in the league, especially that young backcourt."
The Warriors are now 3-4 on the homestand, which they close out Wednesday vs. Denver. Golden State is 8-7 on
Phoenix was one of the few losing teams on this homestand, sitting just above the Warriors in the standings. Monday, the Warriors had the Suns looking like a serious contender, one game after Golden State handily beat a serious contender in Chicago.
Smart said he was concerned about how drastically different an opponent Phoenix would be, as the Bulls and the Suns are about as contrasting as any two teams in the league. The Warriors had to go from protecting the paint to guarding the 3-point line, from a grind-it-out physical game to a wide-open finesse match.
"With Nash, he puts a little bit more pressure," Smart said. "They want to get the ball up and down the floor and go for the 3-point shot as quick as they can. And he's going to be the catalyst for pushing that tempo."
The Warriors couldn't stop it for most of the game.
Nash finished with 15 assists and 14 points. Phoenix knocked down 13 from behind the arc. The Suns supporting cast got into a groove.
Four minutes into the game the Warriors were down 12, and they trailed 33-17 at the end of the first quarter. Golden State got down by as much as 20 in the second quarter. At one point, the Suns had 19 assists (eight by Nash) on 20 baskets and were shooting 56.8 percent. The Warriors trailed 62-45 at the half.
The Warriors got down by as much as 23 in the third before mounting a comeback. By the end of the third quarter, they trailed by 14. Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Warriors defense made some headway.
Phoenix was 6 for 24 from the field in the final period with six turnovers. And the Warriors finally mustered some offense to put a scare into Phoenix. The Warriors put together an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter to get back in the game, with a pair of free throws by Ellis' cutting the deficit to 93-88 with 4:42 left.
But Nash answered by finding Channing Frye for a 3-pointer. Then Frye hit a long 2-pointer. Then Nash hit a 3-pointer. In a minute and 35 seconds, the Suns' lead was back up to 13.
"You're not going to beat them at their game," Smart said. "It's not going to happen."
Notes: Swingman Reggie Williams scored 19 points on 10 shots. He split a pair of 3-point attempts and now has made nine of his last 10 from behind the arc. "... Warriors guard Acie Law missed his third consecutive game with a sprained right wrist. "... The Suns had six turnovers, the fewest the Warriors have forced in a game this season. "... Nash became the 11th player in NBA history to record at least 6,000 assists with one team.
Denver (30-22) at Warriors
(22-28), 7:30 p.m., CSNBA