After struggling through back-to-back blowout losses to start the season, the Golden State Warriors have climbed back to .500.
Andrew Wiggins had his best game since joining the Dubs, finishing with 27 points and seven rebounds as Golden State defeated the Detroit Pistons 116-106.
Stephen Curry had another strong outing, leading the way with 31 points in the win.
The Warriors finish their season-opening four-game road trip 2-2 and play their next seven contests at home.
Here are four takeaways from the win over Detroit:
Andrew Wiggins best plays his best game as a Warrior
This performance was what we have been waiting for from the 2014 No. 1 overall pick. Wiggins scored 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter alone, helping Golden State pull away from the Pistons.
It’s still a work in progress, but Wiggins began to impose his will on Detroit over the final 12 minutes. He connected on five-of-eight 3-point attempts and was more aggressive attacking the rim instead of settling for contested jumpers.
“We’re getting better every game,” Wiggins said. “Every game we’re learning. Learning how to play with each other.”
Hesitation dribble.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 30, 2020
Explosion to the rack.
James Wiseman spearheads the run that led the Dubs to the win
The rookie didn’t fill the state sheet this time around, but he had a big impact on the game. It was tied up at 89-89 with 7:41 left and here is what Wiseman did over the following 1:22 of game action:
- Rebounds Svi Mykhailiuk’s miss, which leads to a Brad Wanamaker layup.
- Blocks Sekou Doumbouya’s shot-attempt, which leads to a jumper by Wiggins.
- Blocks Mason Plumlee’s jumper in the lane, gets the loose ball and goes the length of the court for a nasty throw down.
There is a lot to take away from this clip. Notice how fast Wiseman recovers off the dish and closes space to contest Plumelee’s shot. Then, he doesn’t hesitate to take off and run the floor like a gazelle.
This bucket helped the Dubs build a six-point, and they never looked back. Wiseman had six points, six rebounds in 22 minutes before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. The 19-year-old has shown the potential he has, and with Draymond Green returning soon, I expect to see him take his game to another level.
A tale of two halves on the glass
Golden State was getting killed on the boards through the opening two quarters. Detroit held a 31-21 rebounding advantage and mustered 12 second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds at the half.
The Dubs turned things around over the final 24 minutes, outrebounding the Pistons 19-15 in the second half. The Warriors’ defensive positioning enabled them to corral more boards in the second half. Their rotations were quicker, which allowed the players to get inside-positioning against their man.
The defense will need to continue to get better
After surrendering an average of 130 points over its first three games, Golden State was able to tighten things up on the defensive end, albeit against one of the worst teams in the league. The Warriors started slowly but held Detroit to just 55 second half points. Head coach Steve Kerr went zone for a stretch in the third quarter, which helped settle things down on the defensive end.
“We turned a mess of a road trip into a good one,” Kerr said. “Our most solid game in terms of our defense and intensity. Great win.”
Continuity will help Golden State improve on the defensive end, which will be aided by the return of Green. The Dubs’ schedule gets a lot tougher over the next two weeks, with several matchups against playoff-contending teams. If the Warriors want any chance of being in the postseason, they will need to continue to become harder to score against in the half court.