AUBURN HILLS (AP) – In a battle of young backcourts, the Golden State Warriors were an easy winner over the Detroit Pistons.
Klay Thompson (27 points) and Stephen Curry (22) outscored Detroit’s Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler 49-7, and Golden State posted a 104-97 victory Wednesday night. Singler and Knight went a combined 2 for 16 from the floor, while their Warrior counterparts hit 16 of 28, including nine 3-pointers.
“The numbers tell a big part of the story. Your guards get outscored 49-7, it is going to be tough to win,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “That’s just a bad night.”
The Warriors, starting a seven-game road trip against the Eastern Conference, snapped Detroit’s five-game winning streak at home. Golden State has now won two straight games in Detroit after losing 25 of 29.
“That was a great effort, especially in the second half to play it out,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “We had some breakdowns at the end, but we ended up with a victory. We’ll learn from those, but I’d much rather be learning from a win rather than a loss.”
Curry added 10 assists, his fourth straight 20-10 game, while David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors.
“What I love right now is that Steph is in total control out there on the floor,” Jackson said. “When things get crazy, I don’t feel like I need to call a timeout, because I’m so comfortable with his ability to run this basketball team.”
Tayshaun Prince was the only Pistons starter to reach double figures, but four reserves scored at least 10, including 17 from Rodney Stuckey and 15 points and 12 rebounds from rookie Andre Drummond in a career-high 31 minutes.
“We knew that Golden State had great shooters on their team, so if you leave them open for a split second, they are going to knock the shot down,” Drummond said. “We let some things slip away and played out of character. Moving forward, we have to nip some of that in bud.”
Golden State looked like it would take control early, jumping out to a 19-7 lead, but neither team could shoot well enough to hang on to any sustained advantage in the first half. The Warriors hit 35 percent from the floor in the half, but that was better than Detroit’s 33.9 percent and enough to take a slim 40-38 advantage into the intermission.
The Warriors, though, scored 27 points in the first eight minutes of the third. Thompson scored 14 points in the burst, and Curry added nine. Thompson kept it going, finishing the period by blocking Greg Monroe’s jumper from behind, then hitting a 3-pointer to give Golden State a 79-61 advantage going into the fourth.
“A 39-point quarter is just unacceptable,” Frank said. “We let two really good shooters get comfortable, and you saw what happened. We did too many things on both ends of the floor that were nothing that we’ve ever rehearsed in practice.”
Thompson thought the run had more to do with Golden State’s offensive pace than Detroit’s defense.
“We played their pace a little bit in the first half, but we started playing at our tempo in the third quarter,” he said. “We got fast-break points and early offense. I was making shots and my teammates kept finding me. I just played catch and shoot.”
Two dunks by Drummond got Detroit within 83-72, but Thompson answered with a long jumper. Detroit appeared out of the game, but the Pistons hit seven straight shots to pull within 98-95 with a minute to play. Golden State, though, put the game away from the free throw line.
“We didn’t do our best job of closing out that game – we have to put the final nail in the coffin,” the Warriors’ Jarrett Jack said. “There are teams that are going to be able to come back when we let them linger around.”
Notes: Knight, Singler and Stuckey were 0 for 9 in the first half. … Wednesday marked the 90th birthday of William Davidson, who owned the Pistons from 1974 until his death in 2009. Davidson built the Palace of Auburn Hills, which opened in 1989, with private funds. In 2004, his teams, the Pistons, Detroit Shock and Tampa Bay Lightning, simultaneously held the NBA, WNBA and NHL championships. Davidson’s son held a party at Wednesday’s game in his father’s honor. One of the guests was Tom Wilson, former CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment, who now holds a similar job with Mike Ilitch’s Olympia Entertainment.
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