The Warriors started their six-game East coast road trip with a 104-96 win over the Pistons in Detroit on Monday evening. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry led the team with 19 points each, while Curry added nine assists. Jermaine O'Neal had another spectacular night, finishing with 16 points and 10 boards. Andrew Bogut, who had missed the previous seven games with a shoulder injury, returned to action and logged four points, seven rebounds, and four assists in 29 minutes. The Warriors bench outscored the Pistons 42-15, giving the Golden State their third-straight season sweep of Detroit.
On the bench:
"I thought it was great. Guys really responded, especially that first half. Our bench was the key; they got us back in the ball game. They increased the intensity. I thought offensively, they did a great job of making the right play."
On stopping the Pistons in the final four minutes:
"We are a defensive-minded team. Again, that is the key. I believe they shot 29 percent in the second half. We did a great job of sticking to the game plan, paying attention, and then realizing that we had to close out possessions by rebounding the basketball."
On Jordan Crawford and Steve Blake:
"I know people look and say, well we had to go get Steve Blake. We went to get Steve Blake because of his ability to run a team, compete, and he gives us tremendous depth. Jordan (Crawford) had been playing well since we got him offensively. He has been a guy who has been a willing passer. Even tonight he turned down a wide open shot for a guy who had it going."
On his performance:
"I tried to press a little in the third quarter. It didn't work out my way, so I tried to stay positive. Other guys were making plays, so it was kind of a team effort to get us out of that lethargic play of the first half. I don't change anything about the way I play. In the fourth, I was able to find good spots and make shots."
On the season:
"There's definitely a lot more to be accomplished. Our expectations are high and this is a good checkpoint for us to keep that up. It's nice to know in my five years this is the best it's been, so that's a good feeling, but we want more."
On facing the Pistons:
"I don't care what your record is in this league. This league is filled with a lot of great athletes, a lot of professional guys. Detroit hurts you in a bad way on the boards, they've got some guys who can really dribble penetrate and if you get off the big guy's body, then they tend to make you pay. They created a lot of havoc down low, but we were able to really rebound as a team and keep them to one shot for the most part."
On tonight's game:
"All in all, I like the way we won it because it's not necessarily going to be flash and fun every night. If we're going to have a chance to really compete for a championship, these are the types of games you're going to have to win in the playoffs. We have a fairly young team and these games like this build the character and the image of the team."
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Warriors have reeled off three-straight wins since coming back from the All-Star Break and the team will look to keep the momentum rolling as it tips off a six-game road trip in Detroit on Monday. This six-city cold-weather trip figures to be a challenging one for the Warriors, but the team has excelled on the road this season. The Warriors have won 10 of their last 13 games away from Oracle Arena, and that includes a 6-1 run on their last extended road trip this season. If the Warriors can come anywhere close to duplicating that success, they will put themselves in great position as they brace for the closing stretch of the season.
LAST TIME OUT
Big games from Jermaine O'Neal and Draymond Green led the Warriors to a 93-86 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night at Oracle Arena. O'Neal finished with season-highs of 23-points and 13 rebounds while Green logged a career-high 18 points plus 10 rebounds. Stephen Curry added 17 points and eight assists, including a clutch three-pointer in the final minute of the game. The Warriors dominated the Nets in assists (26 to 11) and have now won eight of their last nine against Brooklyn. GAME RECAP
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
With Andrew Bogut continuing to recover from a left shoulder injury, Jermaine O’Neal has stepped in to the starting lineup and given the team a spark. The 35-year-old is playing through an injured right wrist, but has been as productive as he has ever been. After limiting All-Star center Dwight Howard to 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting and coming through with a game-saving block on Thursday, O’Neal came through again on Saturday with perhaps is best game in more than a decade. It was just the fourth time in his 18-year NBA career that he has had a 20-and-10 night while shooting at least 75 percent from the field, and he has now played more than 34 minutes in each of the last two games. More important than the numbers, O’Neal has been contributing heavily to the Warriors’ winning brand of basketball, and the Warriors are now 5-1 in his starting assignments.
RENEWING THE COMMITMENT
Head Coach Mark Jackson has remained adamant that the Warriors are a defense-first team, and that has certainly held true in the games since the All-Star Break. Dubs opponents have shot worse than 42 percent in each of the last three games, and the Warriors defense has held the opposition to less than 100 points in nine of the last 11 games. Golden State has allowed less than 90 points in 17 games, which is tied for the third most in the league. With Andrew Bogut expected to return to action during this road trip, and Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and O’Neal continuing to wreak havoc on that end, the Warriors have the pieces to remain one of the top defensive teams in the league. They allow just 99.1 points per 100 possessions, which is currently the third best defensive rating in the NBA.
DETROIT SCOUTING REPORT
The Pistons will enter Monday’s game as losers of four of their last five games. On paper, Detroit has plenty of individual talent, but the team has yet to click. They’re currently in ninth place of the East, three and a half games behind Brooklyn for the eighth and final playoff spot. If Detroit is to make a playoff push, they’ll have to stick to their strengths and take advantage of their outstanding size. Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith make up a huge front line that helps explain why Detroit is the top offensive rebounding team in the league. Keeping them off the offensive glass will be key for the Warriors, who will be looking to complete the season sweep of Detroit after beating them 113-95 at Oracle Arena on November 12.
GSW: Andrew Bogut (left shoulder inflammation) is doubtful. Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Nemanja Nedovic (left hamstring strain/right foot inflammation) are out.
DET: Chauncey Billups (left knee surgery) is out.