'Great win': Pistons hold on to shock Curry, Warriors
Detroit — On one of the biggest nights of the season, the Detroit fans were ready for a superlative performance against the world-champion Golden State Warriors.
The Pistons gave them a good show — and a better win.
Amid a raucous atmosphere and the pomp that follows the Warriors each game, the Pistons played one of their most spirited games of the season, taking control in the second quarter and holding on down the stretch for a 111-102 victory on Saturday night before a sellout crowd at Little Caesars Arena.
Blake Griffin had 26 points, six rebounds and five assists, Stanley Johnson added 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Andre Drummond 16 points and 19 rebounds for the Pistons (13-7), who won their fifth straight overall and sixth straight at home.
“It’s a great win,” said Griffin, who had 18 points in the second half. “You could tell by the crowd and the atmosphere tonight that they’re a big draw and a great team and it’s important to protect home court. We did a great job of that.”
In his first game back after missing 11 games because of a groin strain, Steph Curry had 27 points for the Warriors (15-9), who lost their sixth straight on the road. Curry’s 3-pointer with 8:39 left trimmed the Pistons’ lead to 92-84 but the Pistons countered with baskets by Jackson and Griffin to get the margin back to double digits.
Curry added a three-point play to keep the Warriors close, but Griffin responded with a pair of free throws and Johnson followed with a 3-pointer to equal the largest lead of the game, 101-87, with 3:47 left.
The difference was the Pistons’ bench, which dominated the Warriors, starting with Jackson’s stellar play late in the first quarter and into the second, with 13 points in the first half.
“I just know we were playing really hard and playing together,” said Johnson, who was 3-of-7 on 3-pointers and continued his surge of excellent play off the bench. “It really didn’t matter who scored, who got the stops or anything like that.”
The Pistons had to hold on, after holding an 85-78 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Ish Smith (11 points) scored the Pistons' first seven of the period.
The Warriors didn’t go away.
Kevin Durant had 28 points, six rebounds and seven assists and keyed a 10-3 run down the stretch with five points, to get the Warriors within eight with 1:44 left, but the Pistons put the game away with two free throws from Griffin, one from Drummond and Jackson’s jumper with 45.3 seconds left ended it.
The Pistons defended well against the Warriors, who were without Draymond Green — and although Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson (21 points) totaled 76 points, no other Warriors player scored in double figures.
The Warriors went 6-of-26 (23 percent) on 3-pointers — their second-lowest total of made 3-pointers this season — and the Pistons made the looks difficult. The Pistons are second in the NBA in 3-point defense, holding opponents to 31.6 percent.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr took some of the blame, citing the 3-point differential and trying to get the looks that they’re more accustomed to from beyond the arc.
“Tonight was probably a game that I could mark down as one of my worst performances as a coach, honestly,” Kerr said. “Every time I looked up, we had three guys in the paint.”
Pistons coach Dwane Casey also saw the importance of controlling the Warriors’ 3-point looks and ensuring that they limited the looks.
“We held this team to six 3-pointers, which was our goal. In their wins, they’re around 13 and their losses, around eight and we held them to six, so that was the difference in the game,” Casey said. “The crowd kind of got us going, we had a little lull there and they picked us up and got us going.”