The Golden State Warriors finished off their first East Coast road trip on Friday against the Detroit Pistons. While the Pistons are one of the worst teams in the NBA, Golden State entered on the back half of a back-to-back and were without two stars (Stephen Curry and Draymond Green) and two rotation players (Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr.). Still, despite some late-game drama, the Warriors pulled out a 105-102 victory.
Gary Payton II and Juan Toscano-Anderson replaced Curry and Green in the starting lineup, and the Warriors got off to a fast start. Jordan Poole generated the first offensive sparks of the night, leading the Dubs to an early 17-4 lead. Poole and Andrew Wiggins combined for 19 first-quarter points and seemed to set the Warriors up for a blowout early.
However, when Wiggins and Poole went to the bench in the first quarter, no one else could generate much offense. The rest of the team finished the first quarter 1-for-9 from the field. The Pistons, on the other hand, found an offensive spark from Frank Jackson off their bench. Despite shooting just 33.3% from the field in the first quarter, Detroit trailed just 26-23.
Poole continued his offensive outburst in the second quarter, but no other Warrior managed more than four points. Jackson continued raining threes for the other side, though, while Pistons star rookie Cade Cunningham bounced back from a rough start to drop in 8 second-quarter points as well.
The Warriors entered halftime leading 56-51 almost entirely because of Poole’s explosive first half.
After disappearing in the second quarter, Wiggins found his rhythm in the third quarter and helped build the Dubs lead to double-digits. Some turnovers and sloppy offense allowed the Pistons to stay within striking distance for most of the quarter, but two-way guard Chris Chiozza nailed back-to-back threes at the end of the quarter to stretch the lead to 16.
Still, things got dicey in the fourth. The Warriors’ offense sputtered in the final quarter. Detroit began double-teaming Poole, and Wiggins’ shot stopped falling. Golden State needed someone to step up. Nemanja Bjelica was the only Warrior other than Poole or Wiggins to make a field goal in the fourth. He was far from dominant but made all three of his field-goal attempts.
The Pistons cut the lead to 6 with just over two minutes to go. A costly offensive foul by Poole, pushing off Cory Joseph on an in-bound play, gave the Pistons an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. They came up short, but then Toscano-Anderson turned it over, and Cunningham drew a foul, made both free throws, and brought the score to 104-100.
Wiggins was fouled on a drive on the next possession but made just one free throw. With the clock running down, the Pistons thought Saddiq Bey had a putback finish but committed basket interference on the play.
Wiggins missed a jumper on the other end, and Jerami Grant drew a foul driving on Kevon Looney and made it 105-102 with 33.3 seconds to go. Golden State called timeout and set up a lob for Wiggins on the out-of-bounds play. However, Wiggins slightly mistimed his jump and came away empty-handed.
Grant and Jackson each heaved up threes for Detroit with one more opportunity to even the score but came up short.
Poole finished with 32 points on 13-for-22 from the field, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists, while Wiggins dropped in 27. Bjelica added a pivotal 14 points off the bench, but Payton also racked up 12 points on just five shot attempts. They were the only Warriors in double figures.