Rewind: Warriors' win way more gritty than pretty in Detroit

Rewind: Warriors' win way more gritty than pretty in Detroit

Programming note: Immediately after the final horn of the Warriors-Cavs showdown on Christmas Day, change the channel to CSN Bay Area for a special Warriors edition of SportsNet Central.

For more than 46 minutes Friday night, the Warriors mixed swagger and stumble in a way that would have the Harlem Globetrotters rolling their eyes.

The team with the best record in the NBA was being tricked and handled by the Detroit Pistons, who in losing their previous four games so frustrated their coach that he blistered them in public not once but twice.

The teams swapped leads 18 times, including eight times in the fourth quarter, and not until the final 91 seconds did the Warriors get down to business and eke out a 119-113 win at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

“There was some good stuff at the end,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters at the arena. “I didn’t see a lot of growth during the meat of the game; I saw a little regression.”

Regression at times became on some occasions outright implosion. The Warriors committed six turnovers in the first quarter and six more in the second to give the Pistons 17 easy points. Detroit in the first half scored 34 points in the paint, many of them open looks off live-ball turnovers.

Often overpassing and occasionally hunting highlights, the Warriors committed a season-worst 23 turnovers, off which the Pistons scored 33 points. Put another way, they took splendid advantage of the charity.

“We knew they were going to play with a lot of energy; everybody’s up to play us,” said Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 32 points. “The building was packed before the game started. I like the resilience they showed throughout the whole game.”

Resilience comes easier while receiving aid from the opponent. The Warriors were being scorched by the likes of forward Tobias Harris (26 points, including four 3-pointers, off the bench) and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25, also with four triples).

“We weren’t sharp, obviously,” Kerr said. “But to be able to win with 23 turnovers, leading to 33 points, is pretty remarkable, on the road especially.

“But I give Detroit credit. They’re an excellent defensive team. They’re a top-five defensive club. They forced a lot of those turnovers, and we were lucky to be able to overcome them.”

The Warriors overcame the Pistons by holding them to one field goal over the final 2:54 while also applying the offensive skills behind their league-best 27-4 record.

And Klay Thompson, who missed eight of his first 12 shots, drained the last two – both inside the final minute – to repel the Pistons.

“We ran a couple plays for him,” Kerr said. “Steph (Curry) made the right reads and found him twice for open shots. Klay is so confident in those situations. Even on a night when he doesn’t really have it rolling, we’re still going to go to him if he’s open.”

The Warriors closed it out with a 9-3 run, touched off by a Draymond Green dunk, over the final 91 seconds.

“We did it as a group in the fourth quarter and that’s how it’s supposed to happen,” Durant said.

It was, to be sure, a relief. Some of the lethargy may be attributed to the game being the second of a back-to-back set with a nearly two-hour flight in between. Some of it may be related to the next game, the Christmas Day collision in Cleveland.

If anyone could be excused, it would be Green. He joined the team for the flight from Oakland to New York on Wednesday, flew back to the Bay Area on Thursday for the birth of his son and then left late Thursday night for a Friday morning arrival in Detroit.

“It strained my legs a little bit,” Green said of the hectic itinerary. “I couldn’t get a shot to fall. But life goes on; play through it. It’s the NBA where you get tough travel all the time, tough circumstances. You just play through it and try to win the game.”

That he did. He scored five points on 1-of-8 shooting, but contributed 12 assists, a team-best 10 rebounds and two steals.

Green’s stats were more gritty than pretty, like the game itself.

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.