51 wins with nineteen games left. The Warriors had 51 wins all of last season.
28-2 at home, an all-time franchise best through 30 games. The Warriors won 27 games at home all last year.
Last season, this game may have ended up as a loss. But not this year. With depth, shooting, and defense, Golden State emerged victorious over the Pistons.
The bench was very impressive tonight (David Lee, for those wondering, got another DNP-CD tonight). Notably, Marreese Speights and Andre Iguodala helped key the critical 18-2 fourth-quarter run that clinched the game. Speights played good post defense on Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, even while giving up some size and weight, and drew three charges. Iguodala was everywhere, deflecting and stealing the ball, leaking out for easy dunks, finding his teammates for buckets, and being a pest defensively. Just another great all-around game.
Klay Thompson led the scoring charge with 27 points on 11-19 shooting, the only Warrior to post above 13 points. His two three-pointers in the fourth quarter all but iced the game, including his triple from the right wing to put the Warriors up by ten. But true to form this season, Golden State featured six players in double figures, and every player who got on the court had at least four points. There is so much depth and talent on this squad. Tonight, Golden State didn't need Stephen Curry to score (just 9 points) as much as run the show, as he had 11 assists.
For the Pistons, Drummond had 27 rebounds -- the high in the NBA this year and a career-high -- and posted 17 offensive rebounds. He also had 22 points, but on just 11-25 shooting, tangible evidence of the excellent post defense of Andrew Bogut and Speights. Greg Monroe added 20 points, but he was also inefficient from the field, going just 7-18.
The Warriors forced Detroit into just 42 percent shooting, a huge boon for a team starting Draymond Green -- who, for all his toughness and defensive prowess (and there's a lot of it, no doubt) is 6'7'' on a good day -- against the two-headed monster of Monroe and Drummond. It turns out the Warriors didn't need size so much as quickness tonight on defense.
Golden State forced Detroit into multiple shot-clock violations and bad shots tonight because of their length and quickness defensively. They repeatedly batted balls away in the passing lane and in the paint away from Drummond and Monroe. The Warriors finished with five steals and six blocks, along with innumerable deflections.
All of these rejections and deflections helped the Warriors to push the pace in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. After the Pistons took the lead, 81-79, Golden State turned on the jets. Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson were swarming on the perimeter, the Warriors surrounded Drummond and Monroe in the paint (a strategy that the Warriors probably should have pursued earlier in the game) and Marreese Speights drew two charges during the run.
The Warriors can seemingly turn on the switch whenever they want -- especially at home. Klay Thompson echoed that feeling postgame when he said that the Warriors feel very comfortable at home.
"We're gunning for that number one seed [in the West and NBA] so we can get home-court advantage throughout the playoffs," he said. On a night that featured Memphis losing in Boston and East-leading Atlanta losing in Denver, the Warriors didn't succumb to an upset by a middling team, and increased their lead in the standings.
Golden State proved that they can outlast big teams while playing smaller: They are adaptable, frenetic, talented, deep and well-rounded. The Warriors have the inside track to playing the majority of every series in the playoffs in a building they are 28-2 at this season. And as the playoff race tightens up, that is a small thing that could make all the difference come April, May and June.