This was the second straight loss for the Warriors, and their sixth straight road defeat. Check out the rundown from Warriors PR:
Postgame Notes from tonight's 111-102 loss to the Pistons: pic.twitter.com/Pt3qnrI9Vw— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) December 2, 2018
The note that raised my eyebrows the most was this game featured Golden State’s 8th different starting lineup! Damn, can we get our full squad? Anyways, let’s break down three gold-blooded musings on this loss.
Curry’s slow start shows the rust
Okay, so Curry played like “Space Jam” aliens stole his powers in the first half.
Curry missed his first three looks from downtown. He didn’t score a single point in the first quarter, as he tried to figure out when to force his will and when to blend in. He had a sequence where he blew a transition three, then was immediately caught on a screen going the other way to give up a wide open three to the Pistons, followed by committing a shot clock violation as he passed when he should have shot.
Quiet first half back for Steph Curry: 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, missed all five of his 3s. Moved around fine in his 18 minutes, but rhythm not all the way there. Warriors down 8 in Detroit.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 2, 2018
Curry’s two All-Star teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson tried to have his back in the first half. Before intermission Durant had 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, while Thompson shot 6-of-12 with 12 points. Meanwhile Curry missed his first three shots and finished 2-of-9 after two quarters, including a rusty 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Then, he had two immediate bonehead turnovers to commence the second half. R-U-S-T-Y.
Steph’s game was looking like Ben Affleck’s dad-bod stretching the seams in the iconoic Batman suit: not quite the look the fanatics had hoped for.
He grit his teeth and started finding the touch later in the third quarter, but the momentum had already slid too deeply Detroit’s way.
Curry's first 3 pulls the Warriors within 11 (69-58) with 7:16 left in 3rd.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) December 2, 2018
Also prompts the predictable: an immediate DET timeout.
Curry would finish shooting 10-for-21 from the field, making 3-of-9 attempts from downtown, for 27 points. He added 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and a grisly 7 turnovers. The rumors are gaining steam that he may be merely a human being and not an alien beamed in from space to teach humanity how to shoot.
One of my favorite Twitter follows, Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Brooke, cracked me up during the postgame show when she smirked and said something to the effect of, “Stephen Curry is not a magical wand for unlimited wins.”
That was hella funny. The best thing about Curry’s performance was that he looked physically sound, and was able to go at full speed. The flammability will come...soon...
Pistons gleefully expose Dubs’ bigs
The Pistons’ strength is their formidable frontcourt combo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Those two overpowered the Warriors inconsistent young big men in the absence of Olympians Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pistons had 14 offensive rebounds to the Warriors 6, with Drummond snagging 8 of them. That’s right folks, Drummond had more offensive rebounds by himself than the entire Golden State squad. The big center finished 19 total rebounds to go with 16 points.
Griffin shot a mediocre 9-of-22 overall from the field, but put the pressure on the Warriors to defend him when he lowered his shoulder and turboed into the paint.
Warriors big man project Damian Jones was routinely on the wrong end of the Pistons’ construction work, but he at least fought back. Durant was looking for him constantly as the roll guy on high pick plays.
Unfortunately, he went out with injury later trying to battle Drummond down low.
Damian Jones (L shoulder strain) is done for the night. Not particularly surprising in such rugged game. He got beat up pretty good by Andre Drummond.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleNBCS) December 2, 2018
Kevon Looney was saddled in foul trouble due to the constant physicality. Jordan Bell looked small and lost against the Pistons front court, but at least had one highlight play.
Jordan Bell makes up for the airball by sprinting back for the emphatic block at the rim pic.twitter.com/VXKaimfchK— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) December 2, 2018
The Pistons are like a ground-and-pound football team that runs the ball behind a strong offensive line. They use their two big fellas as battering rams that gobble rebounds, score on putbacks, draw fouls, and protect the rim. The young Warriors bigs’ grinded, but in the end lacked the heft or smarts to out-wrestle Detroit.
The Dubs’ announcing crew briefly touched on the impact of no longer having veteran bigs like Javale McGee, David West, and Zaza Pachulia around. This is a part of the organization’s longterm plan to use youth in that spot while superstar DeMarcus Cousins heals.
It must have eaten Draymond Green alive to watch his hometown team bully the Warriors. He thrives in the trenches of physical games despite his relatively shorter size, and loves to go toe-to-toe with Griffin and Drummond in the paint.
Boogie Cousins would definitely want a piece of that action too.
Kerr Shoulders Blame
Coach Kerr called tonight’s game “one of my worst performances as a coach” pic.twitter.com/G0yLqFffv5— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 2, 2018
The Warriors shot 6-of-26 from beyond the arc, with the bench shooting only 1-of-3. The Pistons wings ran the Warriors shooters off the arc pretty well, knowing they had big fellas down low to protect the rim. At the same time, the Warriors role players consistently dove into the paint on offense, creating awkward spacing that led to crippled possessions.
Side note: one of my favorite things about this game was it reinforced how important Draymond Green is. A healthy, engaged Green is nightmare fuel for Griffin and Drummond. There were several easy buckets those two received just because of mental mistakes from the Warriors young big men.
A few weeks ago there were people clamoring for the trade of the hot-headed dynamo; now we’re seeing the glaring hole in the painted area that Green had previously protected for many moons.
Perhaps we also took for granted how he led the team in assists as a playmaker on offense.
It’s clear: the Dubs need all hands on deck to keep the league at bay.