BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
In a game Monday night where referee Ben Taylor mistakenly thought that the Oracle crowd had paid their hard earned money to watch him officiate, the Warriors fell to the Phoenix Suns 117-109 in a match-up where Taylor took center stage ahead of the two-time defending NBA Champs by calling a trio of technicals in the opening seconds of the third quarter.
Taylor wasn’t the only issue for the Warriors. The Suns put up 40 points in the opening quarter to jump out to an eight point lead on the way to a 61 point first half against a porous Warriors defense. But just nine seconds into the third, Steph Curry was called for an offensive foul after attempting to set a screen on the Suns Trevor Ariza. Curry received a quick technical for arguing the call, and Kerr was then ejected for coming to his defense.
Multiple reports indicated Kerr said “I don’t wan’t to be here anyway,” before waving goodbye on his way off the court. After the game, Kerr showed he was already in mid-season form by cracking “I wanted to be back in the locker room. We have a good postgame spread and we usually have it out there by late third quarter. I wanted to be the first one to the buffet. I was trying to make a point and trying to back up my guys. We had all these offensive fouls one after another and I finally had enough.”
For his part, Curry was quick to express his appreciation for Kerr’s support. “I love it. We’ll see how we sustain that throughout the year but when a blatant call we think should go one way goes the other, he’s going to have a reaction to it no matter if it’s preseason, regular season or playoffs. It’s nice for him to have that fire for sure.”
Curry finished as the leading scorer in the game with 23 points in 23 minutes of action, with 21 coming in the first half. Kevin Durant added 12 to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Rookie Deandre Ayton, the Number 1 pick in the draft, paced Phoenix with 18 points and 7 boards in his first action against Golden State. Ryan Anderson also added 18 while Ariza, coming over from the Houston Rockets as a free agent in the off-season, pitched in 17 points while going 6-10 from the field.
Next up for the Warriors comes their first look at LeBron James in a Lakers uniform. The game will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with a 7:30 tip-off scheduled for viewing on ESPN.