WHO: Golden State Warriors (15-8) at Detroit Pistons (12-7)
WHEN: Saturday, December 1st, 2018, 4:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
BUDDY BLOG: Detroit Bad Boys
Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles rehab), Draymond Green (right toe sprain) Alfonzo McKinnie (left foot soreness) TBD.
Pistons: Henry Elleson (nose) day-to-day, Luke Kennard (shoulder) out
The Warriors were 10-2 until Stephen Curry went down with his groin injury. Then they lost half of the next ten games they played, and failed to win a road game during this stretch. They even faltered four straight times for the first time in the Steve Kerr era.
For a team as used to winning as the back-to-back champs have been over the last several years, even the most predictable and relatively understandable hiccups are perceived with mild anxiety attacks in Dub Nation.
For many supporters, the not-so-distant memories of failure and incompetence that define much of the franchise’s history can only be abated by the high of constant victory.
That’s why random games in the eve of winter time in the NBA keep us in rapt attention during this storybook tale of the endless pursuit of joy weaponization. The return of Curry, a man last seen shattering every record he could for the hottest three-point shooting starts of any season, is must see TV.
Who can forget the Warriors' last defeat, a road game in which Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and a battalion of still meshing Dubs’ role players couldn’t quite shock the world and defeat the red-hot Toronto Raptors in overtime?
Durant may have converted some of skeptics when he emphatically declared his edge in the individual matchup with fellow Lebron James-nemesis, Kawhi Leonard. As our very own Thomas Bevilacqua quietly slipped into our GSoM Slack chat, Durant was lighting every Raptor up Thursday night, even the cornrowed former defensive player of the year:
When guarded by ‘others’;— Justin Grant (@ThePackageJG) November 30, 2018
KD: 14/24 FG, 2/5 3P, 4 Fouls drawn
Kawhi: 12/17 FG, 3/3 3P, 2 Fouls drawn, 1 TO
When guarded by each other;
KD: 4/7 FG, 2/2 3P, 2 Fouls drawn, 1 TO
Kawhi: 2/7 FG, 0/3 3P, 1 Foul drawn
But it came in a loss, which as we know, the Warriors tolerate the same way a hungry, smart-ass child tolerates Grandpa’s long prayer over the dinner table on Thanksgiving. They know the burn of patient waiting is a part of life, but sometimes they can’t help but salivate over the spread.
The prayer is about to be answered though as Curry is chomping at the bit. How cruel was it for his Steve Kerr to hold out Curry from the game against Toronto, admitting that if it were a playoff contest “Unanimous” surely would have participated?
Instead he will be dropped into Detroit for his official comeback, with his battle-weary teammates eager to join him against...Blake Griffin and Reggie Jackson?
Gold-Blooded Prediction: If the Pistons protect their homecourt and fight the champions tooth and nail, it will be a credit to their transformation under first year coach Dwane Casey.
It will add credence to the whispers of Griffin quietly garnering MVP consideration. It will also be more evidence that Jackson is yet another survivor of the dying star that is Oklahoma City. It may even prove that Andre Drummond is a big enough factor to negate some of the effects of small ball.
Curry’s rust may throw the Dubs off, as they struggle to mesh in their megastars return. The Warriors are still without superstar utility man Draymond Green, who hopes to return by the end of the five game road trip. They could stumble against the Pistons rugged front line.
But I’m willing to bet that Stephen Curry will pick up somewhere close to where he left off, and continue to incinerate the NBA.
Warriors 110, Pistons 100.