When the Warriors added Kevin Durant in the offseason -- a career 38% three-point shooter -- many wondered whether they'd improve upon their record-breaking 1,077 threes from last season. But things don't always go as expected.
Golden State isn't as accurate from beyond the arc as they were a season ago. In fact, four other teams have been more successful in both three-point percentage and three-pointers made. D'Antoni's Rockets, who've made an absurd 613 threes thus far in the season, are on pace to eclipse the Warriors' record for threes in a single season.
Before Thursday night's game, the Warriors were shooting 37.9% from three, which is well above average but not up to the standard they set last season. However, Steve Kerr expects better accuracy in the second half of the season, according to Connor Letourneau of the S.F. Chronicle.
“To be honest, I don’t think we’ve shot it that well the first half of the season,” said Kerr. "Tonight was one of our better nights from three for the year. I expect us to shoot better from three the second half of the season.”
If Golden State's success from beyond the arc on Thursday's game against the Pistons is an indication of things to come, then the rest of the league is doomed. Steph Curry set Oracle on fire with his 14 first quarter points on 6 of 7 shots, two of which were threes. But Curry also helped the Pistons stay in the game despite his hot shooting by giving the ball away 6 times in the first quarter alone.
Ian Clark joined in on the three-point party off the bench, making two threes in in eight seconds after entering the game in the first quarter.
Not too shabby Ian Clark. #SPLASH (x2) on @CSNAuthentic #NBAVote pic.twitter.com/qlfSJ70ua0— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) January 13, 2017
The score after the first quarter was 37-30 for Golden State, who made 5 of their 6 threes in the period. Kerr usually has Durant sit midway through the first quarter but opted to keep him in with Curry for almost the entirety of the period. However, when it came time for Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to lead the subs in the second quarter, the team struggled to score mightily, as Tim Kawakami of Mercury News pointed out.
Curry +32, Durant +24... Kerr is going to like that part of the rotation tweak. But Draymond/Klay + 2nd unit wasn't so good.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 13, 2017
Detroit only made 1 three in the first half, but they got whatever they wanted inside against the Warriors, making 24 of 34 two-point shots (70.5%) as they entered halftime down two points. The first half saw 24 lead changes, the most in the NBA this season.
It usually only takes a short stint for the Warriors to put away lesser teams, and the Warriors did just that in the third quarter. Klay, Durant, Iguodala, and Ian Clark all hit threes in the third quarter to outscore Detroit 41-19.
At times, the Warriors' three-point shooting just isn't fair. Pistons' guard Reggie Jackson found himself in a quandary when Kevin Durant pushed the ball upcourt with Curry on the left wing and Klay in the corner. Forced to pick his poison, Jackson stepped in Curry's direction, leading to an easy three for Thompson.
Perhaps just as devastating as their shooting is Golden State's passing ability. They distributed 39 assists on 50 made field goals. Their playmaking marksman, Draymond Green, recorded 13 assists and a grand total of 0 points on 0-4 shooting to go along with 9 boards and 2 blocks.
The final buzzer sounded with the Warriors up 20 on 15 made threes out of 29 attempts. It was just the fifth time this season that the team made more threes than they missed, and the Warriors' three-point percentage rose from 37.9% to 38.2% as a result. Hopefully, they continue to boost their three-point percentage against the Cavaliers next week.