The Golden State Warriors narrowly escaped an upset bid from the Detroit Pistons last night, winning 113-109 at Chase Center to snap a two-game losing streak. Stephen Curry led the way with 26 points, while the Pistons lost their 17th straight road game.
Back-And-Forth Battle Goes Down To The Wire
The game remained close throughout, with 18 lead changes and 10 ties (Detroit News). Neither team led by more than seven points. The Pistons, who entered as 17-point underdogs with the NBA’s worst record, were hoping to pull off a monumental upset.
Detroit was powered by 25 points from rookie sensation Cade Cunningham. Former Warrior Alec Burks added 21 points off the bench. Golden State nearly collapsed down the stretch, as sloppy play and cold shooting allowed Detroit to keep it a one-possession game in the final minute (San Francisco Chronicle).
In the end, Curry and veteran Klay Thompson (20 points) made just enough winning plays to hold off the scrappy Pistons. Thompson’s transition layup put Golden State ahead 111-109 with 10.5 seconds left. Detroit had two chances to tie it, but Cunningham missed a driving floater and Saddiq Bey’s corner three at the buzzer was off the mark (Mercury News).
“We’re obviously not proud of our effort and execution tonight,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But we’ll take the win however we can get it.”
Warriors Blow Big Lead, Bench Steps Up
Golden State jumped out to an early 15-point lead in the first quarter behind hot three-point shooting. But sloppy defense allowed Detroit to get back into it in the second period. The Pistons closed the half on a 12-4 run to trail just 60-58 at the break (MLive).
The Warriors rebuilt a double-digit lead midway through the third quarter thanks to eight straight points from Jordan Poole off the bench. But Cunningham kept the Pistons within striking distance, scoring 10 points in the period (CBS SF). Detroit trailed just 87-81 entering the fourth.
Burks then took over for the Pistons, scoring 11 points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. His three-pointer tied it 94-94 with 7:14 left, capping a furious 13-3 Detroit run (Detroit Bad Boys). The Warriors offense stalled without Curry, who sat the first eight minutes of the period.
But Curry checked back in with Golden State down 102-100 and instantly provided a spark. His transition layup followed by a deep triple put the Warriors back on top 105-102 with 3:47 on the clock (Free Press). He scored or assisted on 11 of Golden State’s final 13 points to seal the win.
“Steph was the difference down the stretch,” Kerr said. “He has that clutch gene that gives us confidence we can close out any game, no matter the situation.”
The Warriors (23-14) wrap up a brief two-game homestand by hosting the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night. Golden State has won 10 straight over the Raptors.
Meanwhile, the Pistons (11-28) continue their season-high six game road trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Detroit has lost 28 of its last 31 overall but proved it has the talent to compete with the defending champions.
This was the first of two meetings this season between Golden State and Detroit. They’ll match up again on March 19 at Little Caesars Arena. After nearly pulling off a shocker last night, the Pistons will be hungry to get revenge on their home court.
But for now, the Warriors survive and advance while still working to overcome injuries and find their championship form. “It was ugly but we got it done,” Thompson said. “We’ll take the lessons from this game, study the film and keep building good habits.”
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