In some respects, it just wasn’t Golden State’s night. Missing Klay Thompson and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Warriors didn’t exactly have their “A” game against the struggling Detroit Pistons. In other respects, Detroit managed to take every body blow the Warriors could muster and hit big shot after big shot when needed on their way to a 128-114 win against the defending champs.
The Pistons outlasted the Warriors through the sheer force of will of their starters, particularly Cade Cunningham who had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, a career-night from Isaiah Stewart who had a career-high 24 points, 13 rebounds and delivered stout interior defense, and Saddiq Bey who had 28 points and made four 3-pointers.
Detroit needed every ounce of juice from the starters because the bench continued to struggle, and suffered another injury when rookie Jalen Duren left the game in the fourth quarter after rolling his ankle after landing on Hamidou Diallo’s foot after blocking a shot. Duren needed to be helped to the locker room and it is unclear how much time the big man might miss.
The Warriors were led by Steph Curry who splashed in 32 points despite having what was, for his standards, an off night. He hit just 4-of-14 threes, and was 10-of-24 overall. There were moments when he was able to dig deep and knock down a 30-footer or drive to the rim for a layup, but he just wasn’t locked in tonight.
Former Michigan Wolverine Jordan Poole also had a big night, including scoring nine quick points in the second quarter on a series of 3s after the Pistons had stretched their lead to 19. Cutting the lead to 10 gave the Warriors new life, and the game remained competitive for the rest of the way.
Bojan Bogdanovic, fresh of of inking a two-year extension with the Pistons had a sneaky good 21 points on just eight shots. He did it by getting to the free-throw line eight times. Earning free throws has been a struggle for Detroit for several years, but this year, they really seem to have figured out how to force the refs to make some calls.
Cunningham, who got a famously stingy whistle last year has double his free-throw rate from year one to year two and went to the stripe four times tonight. Stewart, who struggles as an interior scorer helped himself by forcing the action and getting calls. He got to the line a career-high 11 times and sank 10.
The team sank 34-of-38 free throws. It was the first time in 16 years the Pistons had gotten to the line at least 38 times and made at least 89% of their shots.
It was an encouraging win for the Pistons, and they’ll look to ride that momentum to Milwaukee, where they face Giannis Antetokounmpo for two straight.