The Warriors and Pistons go at it tooth and nail in Detroit. Golden State hangs on to win

by Jerry Feitelberg

Detroit- The Warriors and Pistons duked it out Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.The game was highly competitive and thrilling from start to finish as the Dubs won their seventh game in a row 119-113 over the Detroit Pistons.

Last year in Detroit, the Pistons beat the Dubs and were hoping to upset the Warriors’ apple cart once again. Didn’t happen as the Warriors were just a little bit better on offense and defense in the last two minutes of the game and were able to record the win. Warrior defensive star, Draymond Green, played just 24 hours after returning to the Bay Area to be with his newborn son on Thursday.

The Warriors led by one 33-32 after the first quarter. The biggest lead was seven, but Detroit went on a 9-0 run and took the lead 24-23. JaVale McGee scored four and Steph Curry had two 3-point shots in the stanza. The Pistons outscored Golden State 27-24 in the second quarter. The Warriors were ahead by four 47-43 when they suddenly couldn’t make a field goal. They went over four minutes in the quarter without a bucket and that allowed the Pistons to regain the lead. The Dubs trailed by four when Steph hit another 3-pointer to trail by one 52-51, but Detroit would come back, and score and the half ended with Detroit in the lead by two points 59-57.

The Warriors, who usually own the third quarter, did not break the game open. They did outscore Detroit by six and led 88-84 at the end of the quarter, but the outcome of the game was still in doubt. JaVale McGee was one of the key players for the Dubs in the quarter. McGee scored nine of his fifteen points in the quarter, and that helped Golden State regain the lead.

The Pistons, at one point in the quarter, fell behind by eight but they would not fold as they came back to trail by four at the close of three. The Pistons and Dubs slugged it out in the final quarter. The Dubs fell behind 91-90 but went ahead by three 102-99. Detroit clawed back and led 104-102. Steph Curry made a layup to tie the game at 104.

Steph made a three to make it 107-14, but Detroit scored the next four points and led 108-107. Kevin Durant hit a three to regain the lead 110-108. Detroit came back and tied the game at 110 with just one minute and forty seconds left to play. The Dubs took the lead for good when Draymond Green made a slam as he was all alone on the weak side and was able to walk in uncontested.

Klay Thompson made a bucket to put the Dubs up 114-110 with 53.2 seconds left in the contest. Detroit scored a deuce, but Klay hit a three and the Warriors led by five 117-112 with 22.1 seconds left. The Warriors could have iced the game then and there but they turned the ball over on an inbound pass the bounced off Kevin Durant’s hands. The Dubs fouled Andre Drummond, and he made just one free throw. The Pistons fouled Steph, and he iced the game with two free throws with just 2 seconds to play. Dubs win 119-113

Game Notes- The Warriors played a very sloppy game as they committed twenty-three turnovers that nearly cost them the game. Detroit scored thirty-three points off the turnovers. The Dubs, however, did play well on defense. They had 41 rebounds, nine steals, and two blocked shots. They also moved the ball well as they had another game with over 30 assists(35 to be exact).

Kevin Durant led the Dubs in scoring with 32 points in 31 minutes of action. Durant had three assists and 8 boards. Draymond Green had another double-double. Green had 12 assists, ten rebounds, 1 blocked shot and just five points in Friday’s game. Steph had 25 points, 8 assists, and 3 rebounds. Klay Thompson had seventeen, but he had two key buckets in the fourth quarter.

JaVale McGee, continuing to improve, had a season-high 15 points. Zaza Pachulia, who had a season-high 15 points against Brooklyn, scored seven and had 7 boards. Ian Clark, David West had six each while Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala each had 4. Golden State shot a blistering 55.8% from the floor. The Pistons shot well, too, as they shot 50.6% Leading scoring for Detroit was Tobias Harris, coming off the bench, with 26. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25. Reggie Jackson knocked down 17, and big Andre Drummond added 15. The Warriors are now 27-4 for the year and Detroit drops to 14-18.

After the game, Steve Kerr had this to say about the team’s performance:”I think there were some good things at the end.” He was not pleased about the “23 turnovers and a lot of careless defense.” He thought the Warriors performance at the end of the game “was a good way to finish but not a good performance overall.”

The Warriors are on their way to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers for the first time since game 7 of the NBA Finals last June. The Cavaliers will be without J.R.Smith who injured his wrist and will be out for a while. Nonetheless, the Warriors will have to still contend with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and company.  The game will be played on Christmas Day at 11:30 am.

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