Andrew Wiggins became an easy target for criticism through the first couple of contests this season. Clanking shots off the rim, bad misses off the backboard and overall sloppy play made Warriors fans wonder -- will this guy ever figure it out?
For at least one night, Wiggins silenced the doubters. He put together his finest stretch of the season during Tuesday night’s contest, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 116-106 win over the Detroit Pistons. Wiggins finished the game with 27 points, knocking down 5-of-8 3-point attempts, and grabbed seven rebounds.
After the game, Wiggins said he had no “told you so” energy for the naysayers.
“It’s part of the game,” Wiggins said. “Everyone who plays sports knows, you’re going to have your ups and downs. You’re in a funk? The way to get out of it is shoot your way out of it. Just keep shooting, it’s going to fall. You just got to believe in yourself. Never lose confidence.”
The Warriors had been waiting for Wiggins to look like the Robin to Steph Curry’s Batman. The wingman Wiggins played a crucial role in turning a one-point lead entering the fourth into a double-digit victory.
He showcased his skills in the process, driving to the hoop, hitting from mid-range and sinking three of his 3-pointers. All three of the late trifectas came during a 13-0 run that swayed the game for Golden State. He also made some major effort plays in the first half, running back on defense to get stops and throwing down a mean two-handed slam in transition.
“He was phenomenal,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He just took over the game.”
But it was the high screen Wiggins set for Curry in the third quarter that really had the sharpshooter Curry celebrating. Pistons rookie Killian Hayes might have got a little woozy from the screen on the right wing that set Curry free for a go-ahead 3-pointer.
“We’ll find a lot more of those,” Curry said.
Likewise, Wiggins said he has no problem sitting back and watching Curry work.
“You want to get him going,” Wiggins said. “Once he gets going, you know the rest.”
The Warriors knew they were going to need some time to jell this season and things look like they are starting to click. Wiggins could be a major barometer for the Warriors this season but now it’s a matter of consistency, something that’s evaded him throughout his career.
“I know he’s more than capable of doing it,” Curry said. “It’s just a comfort level of, again, what play call is he going to get, where is the shot going to come from. And his confidence, you know, ignoring all the numbers, all the shooting percentages and all that.”
Wiggins is still shooting just 32.7 percent this season (sorry to mention it, Steph) but the Warriors got a good look at their possible 1-2 punch on Tuesday night.