The Warriors couldn’t seem to decide whether to take over the game or give it to redoubtable Pistons guard Derrick Rose. They decided to take it, with force, pulling out a 116-106 victory over the Pistons on Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit to punctuate their season-opening, four-game road trip with consecutive victories.
Andrew Wiggins was fabulous, with a season-high 27 points – 17 in the fourth quarter – seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal. Stephen Curry continued to shoot well, finishing 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-9 from distance.
Meanwhile, Kelly Oubre Jr. did some impactful work, as did Juan Toscano-Anderson in his second consecutive start at power forward.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ most impressive game this season:
The defense shows a heartbeat
Coming into this game, only one team, Boston, was allowing a high field-goal percentage than the Warriors 50.7. When all the stats are compiled from the Tuesday games, three or four squads might be joining the Celtics.
The Warriors limited the Pistons to 30-percent shooting in the first half and 38 percent for the game. This was the first time this season the Warriors held an opponent under 50 percent – when it mattered – much less 40 percent.
It’s the Pistons, and they lost Blake Griffin (concussion protocol) in the first half. Doesn’t matter. The Warriors played a lot of sound, intense defense. The principles necessary to consistently compete were present more often than in the three previous games.
Mr. Oubre arrives
After missing his first 17 3-pointers of the season, Kelly Oubre Jr. found one with 8:30 remaining in the first quarter, initiating a few seconds of highly demonstrative celebrating among his teammates on the bench.
Finally, Oubre had broken the streak neither he nor the Warriors wanted. He didn’t stop there, though. Oubre finished with 14 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
A solid defensive presence in the first three games, Oubre put together his best total game of the season.
The rebounding issue
The Warriors were getting clobbered on the glass. It was officially a trend – until the second half.
After being outrebounded by 10 in the opener at Brooklyn, by 17 in Milwaukee and by 13 in Chicago, they were minus-10 (31-21) in the first half at Detroit.
The second half was a completely different matter, as the Warriors, taking advantage of the Pistons being on the second night of a back-to-back set, outrebounding Detroit 37-22.
Is this the start of a new trend? It will have to be for the Warriors to thrive.