Steinmetz's Instant Replay: Warriors 104, Pistons 97

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Steinmetz's Instant Replay: Warriors 104, Pistons 97

BOX SCORE

Player of the game: Point guard Stephen Curry finished with 22 points and 10 assists, giving the Warriors (11-7) a victory in the first game of a seven-game road trip. It was the fourth consecutive game that Curry had at least 20 points and 10 assists, the first time a Warrior has done that since 1992, when Tim Hardaway did it.

Key stretch: The Warriors – and more specifically, their backcourt – was brilliant during the first eight minutes of the third quarter and turned a tight game into something far more comfortable.

Klay Thompson had 19 points in the third quarter – and 27 points for the game -- and Curry had 10 points and six assists in the period as the Warriors went from up just two points at halftime to ahead 79-61.

The Warriors scored just 40 points in the first half but had 39 in the third quarter, alone.

“We just upped the tempo,” Thompson said. "They want to play a little slower pace. My teammates did a great job of finding me and we really shared the ball. We moved the ball well. That’s the toughest thing to defend – when you move the ball. I was just ready to shoot, in a stance.”

Said Warriors coach Mark Jackson: “39 points is our season-high in any quarter. We moved the ball, made plays, were aggressive. It started on the defensive end and pushed it in transtion.”

Clangs aplenty: The Warriors led 40-38 at halftime, and the reason for the low scoring could be seen in each teams’ field goal percentage.

The Warriors shot 35 percent in the first half, and the Pistons hit on just 33 percent from the floor. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both struggled from the field in the first half, combining to shoot 3-for-9.

But the Warriors did a much better job than the Pistons when it came to taking care of the ball. The Warriors, who entered the game averaging 16.4 turnovers per game, had just six in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Pistons turned the ball over 11 times.

“We did a much better job in the second half of playing at our pace,” Jackson said. “We defended. I’m awfully proud of my guys.”

Quick start: The Warriors got off to a real nice start against the Pistons, taking control 19-7 midway through the first quarter.

But Golden State scored just one bucket in the quarter’s final 4:51, allowing the Pistons close to within 21-20 by the end of the period. Things seemed to change in Detroit’s favor when rookie center Andre Drummond was inserted into the game.

Drummond began changing some of the Warriors’ interior shots and he also had six points.

Jefferson available: Warriors small forward Richard Jefferson was available for Wednesday’s game. Jefferson hadn’t played since Nov. 18 because of a strained right calf.

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”

 

Draymond hits personal reset button, sets tone in win over 76ers

Draymond hits personal reset button, sets tone in win over 76ers

In the hours before tipoff Monday night, Warriors coach Steve Kerr fielded questions about Draymond Green, who not only played well beneath his standard in the previous game but also exhibited a couple flashes of temper, including one directed at Kerr.

“He had one of those nights; it just wasn’t his night,” Kerr told reporters in Philadelphia. “Things didn’t go his way. He was frustrated. I’m very confident that tonight he’ll bounce back.”

Yes, he did. One game after allowing his emotions to undermine the best of his game, Green pushed his personal reset button and drove the Warriors to 119-108 victory over the 76ers.

It was a rather predictable performance insofar as Green generally responds to poor games by making a statement of his strength.Or, should we say, strengths.

Though the numbers -- 14 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, five steals, a plus-22 over 37 minutes -- tell a significant story, Green’s impact, as usual, extended beyond statistics. He set a strong positive tone, and when he does that it can offset subpar performances by his teammates.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can play,” Kerr said afterward. “So on a night like tonight, where Steph (Curry) doesn’t have it going, we’ve got plenty of other guys who can score and make plays and a lot of them came through.

“I thought Draymond was really the player of the game. He just brought incredible energy and set a good tone right from the beginning of the game.”

On a night when Stephen Curry’s shot abandoned him (0-of-11 from deep, 7-of-23 overall), Green scrambled to provide whatever was needed, when it was needed. He was particularly adept at setting his teammates, as evidenced by his game-high assists total.

“One guy can’t do it every night,” Green told reporters. “Two guys can’t do it every night. Sometimes, it’s got to be a complete team effort. Tonight, it was that.”

The Warriors shot 41.7 percent through the first three quarters and 44.9 for the game. The Sixers battled them to a virtual standoff on the glass. The Warriors got by mostly with free throws (33-of-39) and Green’s effort and smarts.

That Green is a difference-maker in unconventional ways, often beyond the box score, is what makes him unique.

And it’s what makes it easier to cope with those nights when he’s as much of a headache to his team as the opponent, as was the case Saturday, when was 1-of-10 from the field, had more turnovers (three) than assists (two) unleashed some frustrations.

“Draymond’s value to us is his defense and rebounding and basketball IQ and intensity,” Kerr said before the game. “His shot is going to come and go. He’s going to have games where he makes some threes. He’s going to have games where he doesn’t. But it really doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is everything else that he does for us. That’s where his real value comes in.”

Kerr clearly was confident that Green would revert to being his customary self. Green can create waves, which result in turbulence along the journey, but on the vast majority of occasions, he’s there for his teammates and his coaches.