Weeks of work began to pay off as the Warriors beat the Pistons, 116-106, Tuesday in Detroit, providing glimpses that Stephen Curry is starting to jell with his new-look supporting cast.
Curry finished with 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting (5 for 9 from 3-point range) and six assists, and got key contributions from Andrew Wiggins (27 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks), Kelly Oubre Jr. (14 points, five rebounds) and Eric Paschall (10 points) in the Warriors’ final game of the season-opening four-game trip.
“We’re getting better every game, we’re learning each other, knowing what each other likes,” Wiggins said. “The chemistry is building.”
Entering Tuesday’s game with the league’s worst True Shooting percentage, the Warriors (2-2) hoped a newly-simplified offense would lead to easier shots, especially for Oubre, who missed his first 17 3-point attempts to start the season. Curling off a screen set by center Kevon Looney, Oubre took the handoff and buried his first 3-pointer 2 1/2 minutes into the game, prompting applause from the Warriors’ bench.
The strong shooting start continued as the Warriors opened the game shooting 47.4% from the floor and finished shooting 49.3% overall. However, they trailed the Pistons (0-4) 29-24 after the first quarter because of their inability to box out. As a team, the Pistons grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and outscored Golden State 20-10 in second-chance points, but were held to 38% shooting overall.
“We got hurt by a lot of offensive rebounds, but we were getting stops,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “We were smarter, tougher, contesting more shots, didn’t give them a whole lot of easy stuff.”
Blake Griffin’s free throws after Detroit’s offensive board opened up a 12-point lead mid-way through the second quarter, but Golden State cut into that lead and trailed 51-48 by halftime. After taking an elbow to the head in the first half, Griffin did not return to the game due to concussion protocols after 17 minutes, eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Pistons’ defensive strategy to swarm Curry every time he touched the ball limited him to just six shot attempts in the first half, but he used that attention to pick apart Detroit’s defense and set up teammates for open shots.
Draymond Green, out with a foot injury, watched from the sideline in the third quarter as Curry found Paschall on the receiving end of a pick-and-roll for a two-handed dunk. On the next possession, Curry found Oubre cutting to the basket for another dunk.
But it was with Curry mostly on the bench in the fourth quarter when the Warriors made the game-deciding 20-4 run, powered by 17 fourth-quarter points from Wiggins and highlighted by an exciting block, dribble and dunk sequence from rookie center James Wiseman. Curry re-entered the game and seized Golden State’s largest lead of the game at 13 when he drilled a 3-pointer with 4:17 remaining.
“A great feeling to turn what was a mess of a road trip into a really good one,” Kerr said. “We’ve only played four games but it was our most solid game.”
On Friday, the Warriors will host the Portland Trail Blazers at Chase Center in their home opener.
©#YR@ MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at mercurynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.