| Detroit Free Press
After two 15-point wins over playoff contenders — the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday — in three games, it appeared the Detroit Pistons were hitting their stride entering Saturday’s road game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors handed the Pistons their worst loss of the season, 118-91. It’s an unideal start to Detroit’s five-game trip, as their next four games are all against Western Conference teams in the playoff race.
Jerami Grant led the Pistons (5-15) with 18 points and Josh Jackson added 17. Golden State’s Steph Curry scored a game-high 28 points for the Warriors (11-9).
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Cold start dooms Pistons early
Blake Griffin got the Pistons on the board relatively early, answering a Warriors 3-pointer with a 3 of his own about a minute in. It took the Pistons nearly four minutes to get their second bucket, and they were down double digits when they finally did, at the 7:17 mark.
Poor first quarters haven’t been an issue for the Pistons as of late, but this one crushed any chance of them defeating Golden State. They shot 27.3% (6-for-22) in the opening quarter, and struggled to find any semblance of momentum throughout the night. It bucked a recent trend of the Pistons beginning games on a strong note. The Pistons had shot 50% or better in five of their past eight first quarters.
Wayne Ellington cools off
An off shooting night won’t undo Ellington’s incredible run over the last two weeks. Entering Saturday, he had hit at least four 3-pointers in seven consecutive games — setting a franchise record and becoming one of just eight players in NBA history to do so.
Ellington finally went cold against the Warriors, missing all five of his 3-point attempts in 18 minutes. It was clear the Pistons would be in for a long night when, with 10 seconds remaining before halftime, Ellington missed an open corner 3 in transition. It was an exclamation point to Ellington’s lack of heat Saturday night.
Josh Jackson looks more like his early season self
Since returning from an ankle injury on Jan. 8, Jackson hasn’t been able to recapture his pre-injury form. Before the injury, he averaged 15.5 points per game on 49% shooting. In the 11 games since, he averaged 7.9 points on 32.3% shooting.
Maybe his performance on Saturday will help snap his slump. His 17 points were good for second on the team, and he hit four of his nine shots. He got to the line four times and made seven of eight free throw attempts. Jackson also attempted to posterize James Wiseman in the third quarter on a dunk. He missed, but would’ve been one of the best dunks of the season had it gone down.