On a night where former center Ben Wallace was honored, the Detroit Pistons were able to summon the defensive prowess of the four-time Defensive Player of the Year to hold the Golden State Warriors to 36-precent shooting from the field and 95 points for the game, 19 below their season average. Golden State held a three-point lead over Detroit after one quarter, but poor play from the bench allowed the Pistons to take a double-digit lead heading into half-time. Despite getting 38 points from Stephen Curry, the Dubs were never able to overcome the deficit. The loss dropped Golden State to 37-4 on the season.
Here are 10 thoughts on the game:
1) Make that four games in a row now where the Warriors have looked listless and discombobulated on both sides of the court for long stretches. Despite two of those four games being victories, these Warriors are not good enough to beat a well-coached team on the road with a C+ effort. The Pistons are 14-6 at home and have a kaiju beasting around in the paint (Drummond finished with 21 rebounds and 3 blocks). The Pistons didn’t just beat the Warriors, it was a beat down. Draymond Green didn’t mince words after the game saying, “They punked us.” Luke Walton added, “We got an ass kicking.”
2) Steph and Klay Thompson combined for 62 points on 21-44 shooting. The rest of the Warriors combined for 33 points on 13-50 shooting (and Andrew Bogut was 3-5). Not going to win too many games like that.
3) Maybe it shouldn’t really count since it came against the Lakers, but the bench played well in the previous game and scored 58 total points. But last night was an unmitigated disaster. In the minutes when both Stephen Curry and Draymond were on the bench in the second and fourth quarters, the bench unit was outscored by the Piston’s substitutes five to 28. That’s a minus-23 in an 18-point loss.
4) Leandro Barbosa was especially bad in this game. When his shot’s not going — and you can always tell right away — I’d rather see Brandon Rush out there in LB’s place. B-Rush is shooting 46% from threes and did a decent job spreading the flow as a fill-in starter when Harrison Barnes was out. Barbosa played 13 minutes and had a minus-21, his worst play coming on an egregious illegal screen that wiped out a Curry three-point make.
5) Speaking of HB, in his first start since November, the swingman had five points on 2-11 shooting. His iso shots and one-on-one takes led to a game-high minus-26. He was lights out before the ankle injury, and I suspect he’ll be back at that level soon, but for one night he reminded me of the Mark Jackson-era HB.
6) Maybe it’s time to start staggering Draymond and Steph’s minutes a little bit. The Barnes-and-4-subs units can’t score so why not have Draymond and Klay run the offense early in the second and fourth while Curry rests?
7) While the Warriors’ bench had a rough game, the Pistons’ subs were fantastic, especially Aron Baynes who shot 6-6 for 12 points and Steve Blake who was 2-2 from deep. (I can’t believe I just typed that sentence. That’s how bad this game was.)
8) Which will Curry have more of at the end of the season, dunks (2) or technicals (1)?
9) Steph drained a three from the center court logo in the first quarter. If you’re wondering why he has to take such long threes it’s because 1) he makes them at a high rate and 2) defenses would rather leave the man with the ball on a break than give him an open look.
10) First it was Mike Malone. Then Reggie Miller on the TNT telecast. Now it’s the announcers for the Pistons saying that Steph is MVP of the league, but Draymond might be MVP of the Warriors. How can that be possible? What does that even mean? I need some context. Can I be MVP of my office but not MVP of my own cubicle?