Auburn Hills — It seemed to be a fairly innocuous play at first, but when Warriors forward Draymond Green snapped a pass to Steph Curry, most in The Palace knew what the possible next move was.
Curry, standing on the Pistons logo near center court, caught the pass without resetting his feet and launched a 32-foot heave toward the basket.
It’s become much more commonplace for the reigning MVP, but it still draws wonders from fans and players alike when Curry shows his extended 3-point range. Even though the Pistons took the 113-95 win, Curry still drew praise from the Pistons with his 38-point performance.
“As he caught it, I was thinking, ‘There’s no way he’s going to shoot this,’” Pistons guard Reggie Jackson said. “It was pretty scary that he never reset his feet. It was an off-rhythm catch and the guy is just unreal, probably the best shooter to play the game — and rightfully so, he should be mentioned in that category.
“The things he does are special and we still made it tough on him, even though he was 50 percent (shooting) for 38 points.”
Besides Klay Thompson’s 24 points, the Pistons were able to keep the rest of the Warriors in check, holding Green (Michigan State) to five points on 1-of-7 shooting. The only other Warriors player in double figures was Festus Ezeli’s 10 points off the bench.
Despite the distance on the shot, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy was a little miffed with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was mainly responsible for guarding Curry.
“KCP understood because we talked about that he will do that and to pick him up — yes, I was,” Van Gundy joked Sunday.
The Pistons held the Warriors to 36 percent shooting and were more active on defense than they had been in recent games. That helped to spark the offense and get things going for Caldwell-Pope, who torched Curry for 20 points, triggering the Warriors to switch Thompson, their best defender, on him.
Making Curry work on both ends of the court worked, as it may have sapped some energy from him offensively. Van Gundy said they had a specific strategy to try to slow Curry down just by staying with him.
Curry was left open on a couple of occasions, but in general, Van Gundy was happy with the defense they played on him, despite the big scoring night.
“I have watched the game for a long time but I don’t think there’s ever been a better shooter in our league off the dribble,” Van Gundy said.
“There’s a lot of good spot-up guys that maybe could measure up to him, but with his range and ability to get his own shot off the dribble and knock it down, I don’t think we’ve seen anything like him before. He’s a phenomenal player.”
Brandon Jennings missed the second half because of an ankle injury on the same foot he suffered the Achilles injury that kept him out 11 months.
Van Gundy said Jennings didn’t practice Sunday but after an MRI showed no structural damage, Jennings is likely to play against the Bulls.
“It wasn’t the Achilles but he jammed the ankle,” Van Gundy said. “I’d say he’s 50-50, 70-30; somewhere in there but at least 50-50.”
Aron Baynes also was hurt after taking a knee to his thigh, but he practiced on Sunday and will likely be able to play.
Bulls at Pistons
Tip-off: 3:30 Monday, The Palace, Auburn Hills
Outlook: The Pistons have won both meetings this season, including the four-overtime marathon on Dec. 18. Joakim Noah (shoulder) will miss the next four to six months.