The Pistons became the first team to knock off the Los Angeles Clippers with a 95-87 win on Saturday night, and sit 4-2 on the season. Andre Drummond had an impressive night, posting 15 points, 17 rebounds, a couple steals and three blocks. However, it was their performance defensively that got them the win, as they held the Clippers to only 33.3% shooting from the field, including 27.8% shooting from a Blake Griffin who had completed over 50% of his shots coming into the game.
The Warriors have not carried the same dominance we saw last season, but are still 4-2 despite all their problems. They’ve been the number one team in points and assists, just as they were last season, but are in the bottom ten in points allowed. Their last two games were close encounters at home, which could have easily gone either way. The latter ended in a 120-117 win against the Washington Wizards. Kevin Durant shone for 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, but the team had their struggles from deep, shooting 26.3%. We’re yet to see the team that blitzed their way to the title last season, but the Warriors can build on their three game winning streak on Sunday night against Detroit.
Keys to the game
Drummond on the glass – Drummond is currently second in the league in offensive rebounding at 5.2 a game. The Warriors lack a tough big man presence, so if Drummond can impose his will on the boards and get second chance points for his team, it will strongly improve their chance of winning.
Keep up the pace – The Warriors can play at a pace which no other team can match. They currently lead the NBA in fastbreak points per game by a huge margin – the Dubs have notched 29.8 fastbreak points per game; the Thunder, second in the league, average just 18.0. If Golden State can reach that level in this one, it will get out of hand early. However, if the Pistons can slow the game down and make it a physical matchup, they could leave the Oracle Arena with a win.
Can the Warriors keep their emotions in check? – Draymond Green was ejected in the game against the Wizards after a fight with Bradley Beal, although the footage suggests that Beal was the aggressor. Durant and Steph Curry have already seen themselves ejected this season. Golden State need to focus more so on consistent play and less on the drama from now on.
Matchup to watch
Reggie Jackson vs Steph Curry – Reggie Jackson has always loved going up against the best, and who better an opponent than Curry. Klay Thompson won’t be expected to guard him throughout the game due to the threat the Bradley poses, so we should get to see a solid point guard matchup. Curry is averaging 27.7 points a game, third-best in the league. If Jackson can limit Curry’s offensive production, it will go a long way to giving the Pistons a chance.
Detroit Pistons projected lineup
PG – Reggie Jackson | SG – Avery Bradley | SF – Stanley Johnson | PF – Tobias Harris | C – Andre Drummond
Golden State Warriors projected lineup
PG – Steph Curry | SG – Klay Thompson | SF – Kevin Durant | PF – Draymond Green | C – Zaza Pachulia
Durant has put on a clinic of shooting efficiency so far this season, scoring 50% of his shots from the field, and a superb 49% from the 3-point line. Johnson won’t be able to stop him tonight, so he’ll have another big performance in front of the home crowd.
The Warriors are a 15-point favorite, yet the Pistons have looked strong. Although the Warriors will take this one, they won’t cover the spread.
The Pistons have been impressive, but playing the Warriors on the road in a back-to-back is no small feat. The Warriors have had their issues, and they won’t stop in this game, but they’ll still take it by a dozen.
The game is available on NBCSBA and on League Pass. Coverage starts at 8:30pm ET
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