But for one night, the two backups were unstoppable in the fourth quarter and helped the Suns snap a frustrating three-game losing streak.
Nader scored 16 points, Kaminsky nearly had a triple double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Phoenix pulled away in the second half to beat the Golden State Warriors 114-93 on Thursday night.
Suns coach Monty Williams was particularly pleased with the way the backups played, which was a big reason the team had 34 assists on 41 made baskets.
“That’s the kind of basketball we want to play,” Williams said. “That’s the level I’m going to hold the guys to. 34 assists, the ball movement, the player movement, that’s who we are. The balance was much better tonight.”
Phoenix turned a five-point halftime advantage into an 85-71 lead by the end of the third. The Suns have struggled to hold leads over the past few weeks but didn’t have a problem Thursday, pulling ahead 100-81 after Nader hit back-to-back 3s on passes from Kaminsky.
“Frank’s been amazing, making the job way easier for guys like myself,” Nader said. “A big man with his head up and making those passes is huge.”
The Suns did some of their best work when the bench was in the game but the starters were solid too. All five of them scored in double figures and Mikal Bridges led the team with 20. Deandre Ayton added 12 points and 13 rebounds in 23 minutes.
The Suns moved back above .500 at 9-8. The Warriors fell to 10-9.
Golden State shot just 38% from the field, going 29% from 3-point range.
“We are still looking for consistency at both ends,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Our defense is up and down and our offense is up and down. Hence the season is up and down.”
Phoenix built a 14-point lead by late in the first quarter but Golden State pulled to 52-47 by halftime.
“I thought we had every opportunity to have it,” Kerr said. “We hung in there the first half. Shots weren’t going in but we battled and we were right in the game at halftime. It just slipped away from us. I thought Phoenix executed better than we did.”
NO TRIPLE DOUBLE FOR FRANK
With a big lead in the final minutes, the Suns were mostly concentrating on getting Kaminsky his first career triple double.
It didn’t work out, but Kaminsky was still proud of the way the bench played.
“Energy is contagious,” Kaminsky said. “It starts with our bench and you try to play as hard as you can, bring energy and tonight it worked.”
Warriors: Kelly Oubre Jr. had four points and four rebounds in his first game against his former team. He shot just 1 of 11 from the field. Oubre was part of the trade with Oklahoma City that brought Chris Paul to the desert. Oubre was then traded to the Warriors about a week later.
Suns: All-Star guard Devin Booker missed his third straight game with a sore hamstring. Coach Monty Williams said Booker has done some shooting during practice but hasn’t tested the hamstring with full-speed drills. … Paul had 13 points and four assists.
Warriors: Host Detroit on Saturday night.
Suns: At Dallas on Saturday and Monday nights.