OAKLAND -- The Warriors head to Phoenix on Friday feeling as if they're reaching their peak after winning four of five games on the recent homestand and six of their past eight.

And there is one primary reason.

"We are playing good defense again," coach Mark Jackson said. "We have been playing at a high level lately. . . . It's good to see. Now the objective is to continue it closing out the season."

To be sure, the schedule has presented some lesser teams. And Golden State goes stretches when its defense is excessively charitable.

But, overall, they have been tough to score against.

In five of their past six victories, the Warriors have held opponents below 40 percent shooting.

On the season, they are 16-2 in such games, which means nearly one-third of the best defensive performances have come recently.

"I think we're doing better," forward David Lee said. "The big thing for us is continuing to compete. . . . There are nights where teams hit shots, especially top-level teams. But as long as we play like that defensively and cover for one another, I think we can be decent."

A big factor has been the Warriors' rebounding. Led by Lee, the Warriors are back to crashing the boards at a top-tier pace.

Over the recent eight-game stretch, Golden State is second in the NBA with 35.6 defensive rebounds per game.


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Successfully closing out possessions by rebounding has been a fundamental improvement this season. Getting back to that is producing the kind of defensive prowess Golden State enjoyed earlier this season.

Over their past eight games, opponents are shooting 39.9 percent against the Warriors. That's the best in the NBA over that span. Golden State is also second in 3-point percentage defense (29.9 percent), second in points in the paint allowed (36.8) and fourth in second-chance points.

Getting baskets, once again, is a chore against Golden State. "That's our brand of basketball," Jackson said. "That's who we are and that's why we are where we are today, because our defense has carried us. It was great to see us getting back to our defensive principles."

  • Lee is on pace to become the first Warrior to lead the NBA in double-doubles since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963-64. He already is the first to reach 50 double-doubles in a season since Nate Thurmond had 66 in 1972-73.

    Lee is also close to becoming the first Warrior since Thurmond in 1971-72 with more than 30 games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. Golden State is 23-5 in such games.

  • With two more 3-pointers, second-year guard Klay Thompson will move to No. 2 on the Warriors' single-season list. He'll pass Dorell Wright, who set the franchise record with 194 in 2010-11.

    Stephen Curry has already obliterated that mark with 240 3-pointers this season.

    Friday's Game

    Golden State (43-32) at Phoenix (23-52), 7 p.m.