The Detroit Pistons could have discovered how far they’re away from being contenders if Golden State suited up most of their regulars on Friday.
The Warriors accomplished that with their ‘B’ team on the floor.
Many of the fans came to see Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. They got a heavy dose of former Michigan standout Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins instead, but that was still enough to beat the home team 105-102.
On the 17th anniversary of the “Malice at The Palace,” we had”Diss Day at the LCA.”
Curry, Green and other Golden State rotation players sat out with minor ailments on the second game of a back-to-back. The Warriors basically said they didn’t need their stars to beat the Pistons —and they were right.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said prior to the game that his team should feel slighted that the Warriors (14-2) were holding out so many of their core.
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“It should bother us a little bit as competitors,” he said.
It didn’t bother his team enough. The first unit fell behind 17-4 in the opening six minutes. That was basically repeated in the third quarter, when Golden State stretched a five-point halftime advantage into a 16-point spread.
“Our start of the third quarter was disappointing,” Casey said. “I thought we’d come out with more juice, and they came out with guns a-blazing.”
The only Pistons player with the hot hand all night was reserve guard Frank Jackson, who scored a season-high 27 points. But Jerami Grant and Jackson missed potential tying 3-point shots on the final possession.
“It was crazy,” said Jackson, who made five 3-pointers. “That actually felt like the best one I took all night.”
The Pistons (4-11) have fallen into a win-one, lose-one rut over the last six games. That might help on Sunday when the Los Angeles Lakers come to town, but it’ll be another long season if putting two wins together becomes a monumental feat.
“We’re all a little frustrated,” said rookie Cade Cunningham, who had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We all want to compete, we all want to win. More than anything, you want to leave the arena at the end of the night with a win. We got a win, came back and lost. We got a win, came back and lost. That’s frustrating. Now, we’re trying to take that next step of being consistent … and string some wins together.”
That will be even more difficult if second-year center Isaiah Stewart misses some games or can’t jump as smoothly. Stewart rolled his right ankle, as he did during the summer with the U.S. Select Team, while trying to block a Kevon Looney layup attempt in the opening minute of the third quarter.
Without Stewart, the Pistons were out-rebounded by the depleted Warriors 48-35. The Pistons are already without top frontcourt reserve Kelly Olynyk, who probably won’t return until 2022 due to a knee injury.
Cunningham hinted that Stewart was feeling better afterward, though ankle sprains are tricky.
“That’s always uncomfortable to see,” Cunningham said of Stewart writhing in agony under the basket. “Isaiah does so much for us. He brings so much energy, so much passion. With him going down, we have to try to bring it out of ourselves to match what he usually brings for us. It’s tough to do. I’m glad he’s feeling good about getting back on the court soon.”
The Pistons in general will feel a whole lot better whenever they figure out what it’s like to have a winning streak.