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Durant’s vicious slam, fourth quarter comeback attempt not enough as Warriors fall to Pistons


OAKLAND–One dribble. One vicious tomahawk slam. And another show-stopping moment from Kevin Durant.

In the midst of an up-and-down performance for much of the first half on Sunday evening, Durant’s ferocious second quarter dunk provided Golden State with an initial spark while his fourth quarter heroics helped the Warriors close in on the Detroit Pistons, but ultimately, Durant couldn’t everything in a 115-107 loss.

After an 18-2 run pushed the Pistons’ lead to 101-88 with just over six minutes remaining, Durant simply manhandled Detroit, exerting MVP-like dominance on a night where the Warriors were attempting to launch a second straight double-digit comeback.

It was Durant who hit back-to-back three-pointers to keep Golden State within striking distance, and Durant who crossed over Pistons’ post Andre Drummond before hammering home a dunk to extend his own run to eight points. As soon as the Detroit defense began converging on the Warriors’ star, he tossed a cross-court laser to Klay Thompson who nailed a three-pointer to cut the deficit to four points with four minutes to go.

Inside Oracle Arena, the Warriors were doing what they always do. Though Detroit had the lead, Golden State had the momentum. Momentum, though, is often nothing more than a placebo, and on Sunday, the Warriors missed out on the positive side effects.

Though the Warriors came as close as two, Detroit ultimately finished off Golden State and dropped the defending champs to 4-3.

About that dunk, though.

With 4:21 remaining in the second quarter, the Warriors’ seven-foot unicorn took a pass from Steph Curry just as he crossed half court and proceeded to shred a Pistons’ defense that wanted nothing to do with stepping in Durant’s path.

Though Golden State trailed 44-43 when Durant caught Curry’s pass, Pistons’ big man Anthony Tolliver had little interest in protecting Detroit’s advantage as he elected to cower under the hoop and offer Durant a clear path. The Warriors’ star took advantage, tossing down a thunderous dunk that reminded everyone watching Sunday’s game just how unique of an athlete Durant really is.

While the dunk offered Golden State a 45-44 edge, the Pistons ultimately stormed back, using a late third quarter run and a string of Warriors’ turnovers to take an 82-81 lead at the end of three. The Warriors’ carelessness on the offensive end of the floor overshadowed another impressive shooting effort, as Steve Kerr’s squad racked up 16 turnovers through three quarters, marking the seventh straight game the Warriors have given their opponents that many free possessions.

A night after handing the Los Angeles Clippers their first loss of the season at Staples Center, an upstart Detroit team led by high-energy guards Reggie Jackson and Avery Bradley created enough havoc on defense to disrupt the Warriors’ rhythm and frustrate Golden State’s stars.

The surest sign that the Warriors weren’t completely in sync on Sunday? The 2:10 mark of the third quarter, when Curry snapped a streak of 52 consecutive made free throws to start the season with a misfire. Though it was Curry’s shooting prowess that gave Golden State a shot to win on Sunday, it was the Warriors’ team-wide negligence on offense that allowed a sharp defensive team like Detroit to walk into Oracle Arena and make the most of an opportunity.

 

 

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