The Golden State Warriors avoided back-to-back catastrophic losses on Friday night, defeating the Detroit Pistons 113-109. Less than 24 hours after blowing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead against the Nuggets, the Warriors came close to an even more embarrassing loss against the worst team in the NBA.
On the second half of a back-to-back, Warriors veterans Steph Curry and Klay Thompson shooting efficiency dipped on limited rest. While Curry led the team with 26 points (Thompson was second with 19) and came through in the clutch for Golden State, the Splash Brothers both made fewer than 40% of their shots from the field and just 33.3% of their attempts from three.
Without their top scorers generating efficient offense, Golden State once again turned to their depth. Dario Saric led all other Dubs with 17 points, knocking down a trio of triples in the process. Rookies Trayce Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski each scored 11 points off the bench. Jackson-Davis made all five of his field-goal attempts and had 9 rebounds. Podziemski added 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Still, most eyes were on Dubs head coach Steve Kerr, who received massive criticism after last night’s loss, and how he would handle his rotation. Tonight, Moses Moody received 6 fourth quarter minutes, his first playing time in several games. And then, in the closing minutes, it was the Splash Brothers and a trio of youngsters (Podziemski, Kuminga, and Jackson-Davis). Unlike Thursday night, Wiggins was on the bench.
Kuminga recorded 11 points and 6 rebounds in more than 35 minutes of action, and had a game-high +16 plus/minus (Thompson was second at +14).
The change did not necessarily result in a dramatically better finish, however. The Warriors led by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter, but another offensive dry spell allowed the Pistons to claw their way back into the game and take a 103-102 lead in the final minutes.
Curry finally came alive with the deficit. He drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws to retake the lead. Some excellent defense from Thompson helped force multiple stops while Curry knocked down back-to-back step-back threes to give Golden State a 110-103 lead. Curry scored 14 of the Warriors last 16 points across the final 2:58 of regulation.
The Warriors took another blow to the rotation before the end of the game. Chris Paul suffered a fractured hand in the third quarter and already has surgery scheduled for next week.