PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns slogged through a technical-filled game that nearly ended in a turnover-filled nightmare.
In the end, it counted as their fifth straight win.
Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Devin Booker added 25, which was enough for the Suns, who nearly blew a 23-point lead in the second half of a 123-115 victory on Wednesday night.
The Suns had an 83-60 lead midway through the third quarter, but the Warriors managed to cut the advantage to 118-115 with 19 seconds left after Durant was called for a technical foul. Booker made a pair of free throws with 12.4 seconds left to thwart the rally.
“We have to do better,” Booker said. “Simple as that. We have to take care of the ball, no turnovers, get stops. When that game's at 10, 15 points in the fourth, don't give any team hope, don't gave any team confidence.”
Durant and Booker combined to go 28 for 29 on free throws. The Suns were 44 of 52 as a team.
The Warriors have lost seven of their past eight games, falling to 7-9 for the season.
“Foul, foul, foul, foul,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Can't win in the NBA if you're constantly trying to attack a set defense after free throws and you're basically giving up 44 points.”
Golden State point guard Chris Paul was ejected by referee Scott Foster in his return to the desert after receiving two technicals late in the second quarter for arguing. He finished with six points and six assists.
“I didn't think Chris deserved to be ejected," Kerr said. “The first tech? Absolutely. But I thought the second one was unnecessary. Everybody gets frustrated out there, but that's up to the official.”
Paul played the past three years for the Suns, helping the team advance to the NBA Finals in 2021. The 38-year-old was traded to the Wizards — and promptly dealt to the Warriors — as part of the trade that brought Bradley Beal to Phoenix during the offseason.
The Suns played a tribute video for Paul, a 12-time All-Star, before the game.
Klay Thompson led Golden State with 23 points, while Dario Saric added 17 and Stephen Curry had 16.
Phoenix led the entire second half, pushing its advantage to 83-60 on Eric Gordon’s free throw halfway through the third quarter. The Suns settled for a 16-point lead heading into the fourth.
It was a strange final quarter, with both teams playing mostly backups. Curry and Thompson were both on the bench as the Warriors made their late push, and Suns coach Frank Vogel was forced to put Booker and Durant back to close the game.
“Really proud of how our guys competed and took control of the game,” Vogel said. “Obviously, you want to close the game a little better. But that's not the first time I've had to put my starters back in.
“Not ideal, but really happy to get the win.”
The Warriors — playing without the suspended Draymond Green — took a 31-26 lead after one quarter. The Suns recovered quickly and took a 63-47 lead by halftime, partly thanks to three extra free throws as compensation for all of the Warriors' technical fouls.
Warriors: Host San Antonio on Friday.
Suns: Travel to face Memphis on Friday.