What we learned as Warriors pull out gritty road win vs. Pistons

What we learned as Warriors pull out gritty road win vs. Pistons
What we learned as Warriors pull out gritty road win vs. Pistons

What we learned as Warriors pull out gritty road win vs. Pistons originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Warriors dropped their first road game of the season Sunday in Cleveland, and fought their way to a 120-109 win against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night at Little Caesars Arena to make sure they didn’t lose two straight.

Steph Curry continued to light up opposing defenses, finishing with 34 points and seven 3-pointers. He now has scored at least 30 points in four of the Warriors’ eight games this season. Curry pushed his season average to 30.9 points per game.

Golden State’s other future Hall of Fame point guard, Chris Paul, also provided needed offense. His 17 points off the bench were his most in a Warriors jersey. He shot 6 of 9 from the field, had his first game where he made multiple threes while also adding six assists and five rebounds. Paul was a plus-13.

Although the Pistons were without five rotation players, they gave the Warriors everything they had. The difference was the Warriors flipped the script from the previous night by asserting their strength and will down low.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors improving to 6-2.

Steph’s Scorching Start

On the same day Curry was named Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 30.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 57.4 percent shooting and 52.3 percent from 3-point range, the sharpshooter didn’t miss a beat Monday in Detroit.

Curry’s first quarter the same day he was given the honor for the 20th time in his career was nothing short of a red-shot shooting display. He scored 16 points in eight minutes on 6-of-9 shooting and was 4 of 5 on threes, including sinking his first four attempts. Curry then drained his fifth 3-pointer of the night 12 seconds after checking into the second quarter.

Through the Warriors’ first eight games, Curry has now scored 20 or more points in a half four times.

But Curry only scored five points in the third quarter on 2-of-6 shooting and made one of his four shots beyond the arc. Then came the fourth quarter.

Down 97-93, Curry entered the game for Moses Moody and the Warriors suddenly remembered how to score again. Within his first two minutes back in the game, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run and Curry had two assists and made one three in that span.

Curry scored nine fourth-quarter points, just enough for a Warriors win.

Bringing Needed Physicality

Sunday’s loss in Cleveland was a clear example of size beating skill and smarts. The Warriors were crushed on the glass and paint, but whatever message Steve Kerr sent after being downed by the Cavs, the players heard him loud and clear.

The Warriors the night before were outscored 58-24 in the paint by the much-larger Cavs. In the first half of Monday’s game in Detroit, the Warriors had already scored 24 points in the paint. The Pistons were down their best big man, Jalen Duren, and Golden State took advantage.

Golden State in the end came down with 44 rebounds, five more than Detroit’s 39. The Warriors also scored 52 points in the paint, 20 more than the Pistons, and outscored the Pistons 26-10 in second-chance points.

Six Warriors totaled five or more rebounds. A positive development has been Andrew Wiggins turning it up on the glass as of late. He tallied six rebounds – three offensive and three defensive – and now has grabbed five or more rebounds in three straight games.

Friendly Foe

Warriors players and coaches were all smiles with former No. 2 pick James Wiseman during pregame warmups. And because of Duren’s absence, Wiseman saw the floor much sooner than usual in his first game against his former team. But within his first minute of playing time, Wiseman was already a minus-10.

How? Curry quickly made two 3-pointers, Moses Moody grabbed an offensive rebound over Wiseman and immediately finished for two points and Gary Payton II raced past Wiseman for a fastbreak layup.

Wiseman played 11 first-half minutes, nearly double his season total coming into the day. He didn’t come off the bench once in the second half. Wiseman was scoreless against his former team, going 0 of 3, and had three rebounds.

Meanwhile, Gary Payton II, whom the Warriors brought back at last year’s trade deadline in ending the Wiseman era, was a plus-10 in 23 minutes off the bench with six points, six rebounds and two steals. Warriors players and coaches hope the best for Wiseman, but it’s clear what a win it is to have Payton back in blue and gold.

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