Highlights: Warriors score early and often, cruise past Detroit
OAKLAND -- Anyone seeking proof that these Warriors are vastly different from the oft-scorned teams of old need only to consider their work Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
After a week on the road, concluding with back-to-back losses, they were back to the comforts of home. They had two nights off before they'd face a Detroit team coming off a game at Portland the previous game. And they knew, no matter what anybody says, that they'll be on national TV against Oklahoma City on Thursday.
These were precisely the circumstances under which the old Warriors often came out and invited defeat, many times getting exactly that.
But this bunch roared out of the locker room, put its foot on the necks of the Pistons and kept it there until coach Mark Jackson summoned the reserves in the fourth quarter. It was pure blowout, wire-to-wire, never a doubt.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Warriors too much for Pistons]
"We know that it's not going to be handed to us and we have to go out there and improve every night, respond from losses," Andre Iguodala said after the 113-95 win. "Tonight was a good response from the last two games. We executed the way we wanted to and we talked yesterday about a lot of things we wanted to accomplish and we did that."
Is it conceivable that the Warriors finally are finding their inner ruthlessness? Or maybe it's just a commitment to daily focus, not letting the mind wander.
"Not only was this the game before a big game, but also the first game back from a road trip," David Lee said. "That's often a trap game because you can relax, thinking that you're back at home and it's going to be easy.
"But our coaches stressed that we need to come out and play well from the jump. We did that. And that shows that our leaders are doing the job. Our first unit took care of business from the jump."
And so now it's onto the big stage, a spotlight game against a perennial contender, the kind of game that even two weeks into a season can help the Warriors further identify their strengths, weaknesses and needs.
THE GOOD: The defensive intensity and offensive efficiency with which the Warriors opened. They got everybody involved early, including some offense from center Andrew Bogut. The passing was smart and crisp, the rebounding solid and the shooting exactly at 60 percent. Backup center Jermaine O'Neal finally found some offense with 17 points.
THE BAD: The bench, with an opportunity to make a statement, stammered through the fourth quarter. Aside from O'Neal's scoring, the reserves were sloppy and unproductive, outplayed by Detroit's backups. Particularly disappointing was Kent Bazemore, who could be needed with the absence of backup point guard Toney Douglas. Bazemore had zero assists and three turnovers in nine minutes.
THE SIDELINED: Toney Douglas, diagnosed with a stress reaction in his left tibia, will miss a minimum of two weeks.
THE FUTURE: The Thunder will make their only trip to Oracle Arena on Thursday for a game that will be nationally televised on TNT. The upside for the Warriors is that OKC will be coming off a nationally televised game (ESPN) against the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
And, yes, the Warriors are well aware this game presents an opportunity to send a message to the rest of the league.
"You want to get up for other good teams in the league," Lee said. "If it's a team like San Antonio or Oklahoma City or the Clippers, it's always a good test of where we stand in the west."