Without Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors handled the Pistons 105-102 in Detroit.
It was a referendum of both Golden State’s impressive depth and Detroit’s lack of top-end talent. The Warriors (14-2) led by as much as 16 and held off Detroit’s fourth-quarter push. Jordan Poole filled in for Curry (hip) valiantly, scoring 32 points on 13-for-22 shooting. Andrew Wiggins added 27, and Gary Payton II played one of his most well-rounded games.
The Warriors finished their four-game road trip with three wins and head back to the Bay with the best record in the NBA.
Here are 3 takeaways from the shorthanded win:
Jordan Poole, picking up where Steph left off
By the end of the first quarter, Detroit threw a double team at Jordan Poole 40 feet away from the hoop.
It was Jordan Poole’s night to be “the guy,” and he lit up the Pistons from the jump. Poole sprayed in a tough 3 over two defenders off a Juan Toscano-Anderson handoff to start. Then he rose up for a deep 3 from above the break. He added another triple, this time a stepback on the left wing.
Poole looked like the third Splash Brother as he poured in 11 first-quarter points. He went 3-for-4 from deep, his only miss coming on a good look from the corner.
The third-year guard continued to surge in the second quarter and entered half with 22 points — his fourth career 20-point half.
One of the most impressive elements of Poole’s game is his ability to move without the ball. It’s like he’s taken notes from Curry and Klay Thompson. A number of times, he took advantage of overzealous Pistons defenders by cutting backdoor for easy runs at the rim.
And in the fourth when the Pistons threatened, Poole beat Jerami Grant to the basket twice and finished niftily at the cup. Then he passed up a 3, drove a closeout and finished a floater for his 32nd points to put GSW back up 10 with three minutes left.
There’s so much talent in the NBA, sometimes it feels like production can come simply from opportunity. Detroit’s Jerami Grant, for example, lit the league on fire in the first half of last season with an outsized role after coming from Denver.
Consistency is what makes players great. But for one night, Poole made his talent abundantly clear.
On a fast break in the third quarter, Andrew Wiggins caught a lob and missed at the rim. But he corralled the miss and easily put back a layup. The Pistons hadn’t bothered to get back on defense quite urgently enough.
At times, Detroit looked lifeless, while the Warriors looked like they were each trying to prove themselves and earn minutes. Gary Payton II and Juan Toscano-Anderson, two players already known for their energy, often won loose balls.
The Warriors consistently drove to the rim with more force, rotated defensively with conviction, and opportunistically crashed the boards. They outrebounded the Pistons 48-34, including a 14-10 advantage on the offensive glass. Kevon Looney hauled in 12 boards and paved the way for several others with box-outs.
Devoid of the talent that makes the Warriors the Warriors, Golden State had to out-hustle the Pistons. They brought the energy, and it prevailed.
An impressive streak
The Warriors have scored at least 100 points in 39 straight games. The next longest active streak is the Utah Jazz with 10.
This was a prime game for the Warriors’ streak to end. Instead, the system that Steve Kerr and the coaching staff has built held strong. When your third and fourth options can moonlight as co-stars for a night, getting to 100 doesn’t seem so tough.
It only takes one off night, but it’s hard to imagine this team breaking the streak any time soon.