Wednesday’s contest between the Warriors and the Pistons had all the makings of a trap game, and Golden State almost fell for it.
On a seven-game skid, desperate for a win and wanting to prove themselves against the winningest team in the league, Detroit fought down to the last second.
But Klay Thompson found the hot hand and with 10 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth, led the Warriors to a 105-98 victory.
Thompson said he had no doubt someone would step up and lead the way down the stretch, and when his opportunity came, the shots went in:
“It was gonna have to be one of us. Could have been Steph, Draymond, Andre. But that’s the beauty of this team, we’re so versatile that whoever the open man is, they’re going to make a play so it could have been any of us.”
With the win, the Warriors improved to 51-12, matching their 2013-14 season win total with 19 games left to play before playoffs start.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told SFBay he steered clear of calling the contest a trap game and instead continued to call for improvement from his team:
“I’ve learned not to use that phrase ‘trap game’ with our guys. It’s almost like you put it in their heads by saying it so we didn’t talk about that. We just talked about trying to improve and get better and increase the level of our play.”
Though, later in the game the Pistons’ size started to wear on Golden State as Drummond, the league leader in offensive rebounds, had a career-rebound night with 27 boards (17 offensive) to go with 22 points.
The Warriors’ defense paid off in the second quarter, forcing multiple Detroit shot clock violations and giving way to easy offense to lead by as many as 13 and Bogut capped off a fruitful first half with a right-hand slam off a feed from Stephen Curry with 3:01 left in the second quarter.
Warriors miscues started to change the tempo of the game and allowed the Pistons to threaten the Warriors six-game home winning streak, and with a jumper from Tayshaun Prince, Detroit took a 71-67 lead with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
Kerr said the Warriors didn’t play up to their own standards in the first half, and that carelessness with the basketball gave the Pistons a fighting chance:
“They took the lead in the second half and competed. We had to really fight. That game should have been a lot easier for us if we had just done what we were suppose to do in the first half … 17 turnovers is too many. Four of the turnover came in the second quarter and that changed the game.’
Curry’s shot wasn’t falling through the night, but he played a huge part in the Warriors surge as facilitator with big time assists including a behind the back pass to Leandro Barbosa who hit a three for a 79-73 lead late in the third.
Detroit chipped away in the final frame to retake the lead, but the Warriors took off for a 18-2 run led by Thompson to lead by 14 with just under five minutes left in the game.
The Warriors, now 51-12, visit the Nuggets Friday before returning home to host the New York Knicks Saturday.
Golden State improved to 28-2 at Oracle Arena this season, the best home record in the NBA, giving the team its best home start through 30 games in franchise history. … Klay Thompson became the 28th player in Warriors history to surpass the 5,000-point milestone, finishing with a game-high 27 points on 11-of-19 from the field. … Andrew Bogut scored in double figures for the ninth time this season, tallying 12 points to go with six boards. … Andre Drummond grabbed a career-high 27 rebounds, including 17 offensive boards — the most ever against the Warriors. Drummond bested the mars of 16 previous held by San Antonio’s Terry Cummings (Feb. 28, 1990). Drummond added 22 points for his fourth career 20/20 game, giving him the second 20/20 game vx. Golden State this season. Drummond had 12 of his rebounds in the third frame, the most by a Warriors opponent in a single quarter this season.