After a disastrous start, the Warriors on Tuesday will try to close their season-opening, four-game road trip with a victory over the Detroit Pistons and fly back to the Bay Area with consecutive wins and a .500 record.
The Warriors (1-2) are slight favorites over the Pistons (0-3) despite needing late-game heroics to gain their first win, Sunday over the 0-3 Chicago Bulls. Pregame coverage begins at 3 o’clock on NBC Sports Bay Area.
The Warriors, again without forward Draymond Green, a Michigan native still coping with soreness in his right foot, lost in their last visit to Detroit but have won 13 of the last 16 there.
Here are three keys to a Warriors posting a victory at Little Caesars Arena:
Finding Mr. Curry
After shooting well below his standard for the first two games and most of the third, Stephen Curry looked like himself in the fourth quarter against the Bulls. He scored 13 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from deep.
A big part of the problem was Curry’s new teammates, unaccustomed to his customary movement, not tracking him. The result was lesser shooters thinking too much and eventually taking semi-contested shots after Curry had worked himself into an open look.
Coach Steve Kerr simplified the offense and there were signs of improvement throughout the game on Sunday, most notably in the fourth quarter. If that trend continues, the Warriors benefit.
Set a blistering pace
The Pistons, following a loss in Atlanta on Monday, will be playing their second game on 22 hours – their first back-to-back this season. Though veterans Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose took the night off and will be back in the lineup, their teammates might feel the effects.
The Warriors realize their best chance to succeed is by playing fast, something more easily done when the defense is aggressive and generating turnovers that lead to transition opportunities.
Kelly Oubre Jr., though struggling with his shot, was a defensive difference-maker against the Bulls and can be the same against the Pistons. The same is true if the bench, which played well Sunday behind Damion Lee, Kevon Looney and Eric Paschall, brings similar energy.
Win the 3-ball game
The Warriors enter the game with the worst 3-point defense in the NBA, allowing teams to shoot 46.4 percent. The Pistons are a bit better, allowing opponents 38.9 percent.
The Warriors are 28th in 3-point shooting (30.4 percent), while Pistons are 27th, at 30.6.
After shooting 25.6 percent from distance in the first two games, the Warriors rang up triples at a 38.3-percent rate in Chicago – and 45.5 percent during their fourth-quarter comeback.
Detroit, aside from Griffin’s surprising 8-of-16 shooting from deep last Saturday, has been atrocious beyond the arc.
In a game featuring two weak-shooting teams and two soft defenses, the winner of the long game gains an automatic edge.