Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) takes a shot against Detroit Pistons forward Anthony Tolliver (43) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
by Jerry Feitelberg
For the first time in team history, the Golden State Warriors won all six road games after defeating the Detroit Pistons 102-98. The Warriors were without the services of Steph Curry, Zaza Pachulia, and Patrick McCaw. Head coach Steve Kerr inserted JaVale McGee in for Pachulia, and Shaun Livingston started in place of Curry.
Quinn Cook, who had started at point guard, was relegated to the bench, but he played well when Kerr put him into the game.
The Warriors were trying to avenge a loss to the Pistons when the two teams met in Oakland earlier this season. The last time they met, the Dubs committed 26 turnovers, and they were not in sync that night. The Dubs were determined to not let that happen. They were also committed to shutting down the Pistons’ offense. The Dubs did just that as the had a season-high 15 blocks. Both teams played defense Friday night at the Little Caesars Arena in Motown, but the Dubs were just a little better.
The Warriors lead in the first quarter 30-24. They held the Pistons to just 31% from the floor. The Pistons were making three-point shots, and the Dubs were shooting bricks from a three-point range. The Pistons held the Dubs to 16 points in the second quarter and scored 24 to lead 50-46 at the end of the first half.
The Dubs shot 48.6% from the floor but made just one three-pointer in 13 attempts. The Pistons shot 38.8% from the floor but connected on seven three-point shots in 14 attempts. The Dubs committed just five turnovers in the first half and knew they would have to make adjustments if they were to beat the Pistons. Kevin Durant was the only Warrior in double figures with 14. Thompson and West were next with six each.
Whatever Kerr and the coaches told the Warriors at the halftime break must have worked as the team outscored the Pistons 31-17 and finished the period with a 10 point lead (77-67).
The Dubs, behind Thompson and Durant, continued to keep the Pistons at bay. They increased the lead to 12 (81-69), but Detroit would not fold.
The Pistons closed the gap to three (87-84), but Thompson and Durant made two key buckets to up the lead to seven.
The Dubs were ahead 100-93 when Detroit cut the lead to two (100-98) with 22.7 seconds left in the game. The Pistons went for the tie, but they missed a layup and Thompson got the rebound and was fouled. He nailed both free throws with just 5.3 seconds left. Detroit failed to score, and the Warriors picked up the win.
Game notes and stats — Kevin Durant had a double-double Friday night. He knocked down 36 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and blocked five shots. Klay Thompson added 22, David West 11 and Shaun Livingstone 10. Draymond Green tallied just two points on offense, recorded 13 assists, and was basically a monster on defense. Green had six rebounds and led the club with six blocked shots.
Quinn Cook, coming off the bench, scored seven and he made a three-point shot as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter.
Leading scorers for the Pistons were former Boston Celtic, Avery Bradley, with 25, Reggie Jackson 16, Tobias Harris 11, Anthony Tolliver 10, and the seven-foot-three big man Boban Marjanovic from Serbia also had 10. Pistons star center, Andre Drummond, was held to eight points, but he recorded 17 rebounds in a losing effort.
The Warriors improve to 21-6 and Detroit falls to 14-11.
The Warriors return home to face the Portand Trailblazers Monday night at Oracle Arena. Game time is at 7:30 pm PT.