Who could’ve predicted before the season that last night’s game between the Warriors and Pistons would be must-watch TV for basketball nerds. But here we are. Golden State came out trying to push the pace and outrun the Pistons — who played the night before — but were slowed by a solid defensive effort and balanced scoring attack from Detroit. The final score is indicative of a blowout, but the teams were separated by only 4 points heading into the fourth, and it took an impressive effort from the bench for the Dubs to come away with the win.
Here are 10 thoughts from last night’s game:
1) It’s become clear that anytime Luke Walton needs a shot of energy, or wants the Warriors to go on a run, he’s going to move Draymond Green to center. Before tonight‘s game, the Barnes-Curry-Green-Iguodala-Thompson group was tied for 7th best in the league in 5-Man-Unit +/- (per NBA.com). I like the look; it’s like a shot of Redbull when the Dubs are lacking energy. But against the Pistons, with Andre Drummond currently roaming the paint like a kaiju, Walton barely used the lineup. Against teams that feature a big, athletic, scoring center, the Warriors might need to find another way to get a jolt of energy.
2) Andrew Bogut played like a man who wants his starting job back. In his first 2 minutes of action he logged 4 points, 3 rebounds, and looked pretty spry. After missing 6 games, he got a bit winded in the second half, but was the center playing with the second unit that broke the game open in the fourth. With the subs, Bogut helped Livingston facilitate the offense (his pass got Klay an easy free throw line jumper), and got guys open with (probably illegal) screens. Taking advantage of Bogut’s basketball IQ and defense with the bench unit intrigues me.
3) I’m not sure which surprised me more, Andre Drummond’s improving post moves or Andre Drummond’s abundant shoulder hair. I think Drummond might be one of the few players in the league that looks better in the sleeved jerseys.
4) Stephen Curry had another off shooting night. Like Rondo in the previous game, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was physical with Curry and hounded the point guard’s every move. The memo to rough up Curry has been out for years — I don’t think NBA coaches suddenly found a Curry Kryptonite. Just an off night (for his standards).
5) I do not enjoy watching Reggie Jackson play basketball. I know he’s quietly having a strong season (22 points per game, 39% from three) but watching him dribble the ball for 10 seconds and then loft a runner in the lane that has a 5% chance of going in harkens back too much to the iso ball days of Mark Jackson.
6) If NBA paychecks were doled out per game by the minute, Aron Baynes just made $6,605 per minute. Think about that when you’re helping an unruly customer try on a pair of shoes tomorrow at work.
7) Klay Thompson had a strong night going 10-17 for 24 points and 4-7 from threes. On the telecast, Jim Barnett said his back is starting to feel better. Hopefully that’s true and this will be the foundation for a solid run of play for him.
8) I didn’t know Tim Hardaway was a coach for the Pistons. I love Timmy. I’ll never forgive the trade in ’96 that sent him to the Heat for Kevin Willis and a guy named Bimbo. UTEP 2STEP fo’eva!
9) There was a play during the second quarter that epitomizes why the Warriors are such a good team (in every sense of the word). Curry caught the ball on the right wing with an open three, but you could see him thinking, Klay’s been off. Let’s get him going. So he passes it to Klay. Then Klay has an open shot and decides, Naw, LB was 2-7 last game. I’ma get him a shot, and throws him the pass. And finally when Barbosa gets the ball, he calmly sinks a wide open three and the crowd erupts and Bob Fitzgerald falls out of his chair. When every player knows they’re going to get shine, you have to think they’ll play harder. (Barbosa would later make 3 baskets in a row in the pivotal fourth quarter run that won the game.)
10) Before the game, Brandon Jennings had the most unconfident-confident quote I’ve ever read. On playing the Dubs, Jennings said, “I’m not saying we’ll win, but I don’t think we’ll just get rolled over the way they’ve been doing to everyone else.” Um…ok, then. I’m not saying this is the best game recap ever, but it’s not going to get rolled over by other game recaps either. Hard to believe this is the same player that dropped 55 points on the Warriors his rookie season. RIP, Brandon Jennings hubris.