Warriors stretch playoff lead with Pistons win

ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors weren’t going to hold another team to 27 percent shooting like they did Monday night against the Knicks.

The only stat that matters to them is another ‘w’ in the win column.

Golden State had a minor letdown defensively after a big win over New York but they managed to hold off the lowly Detroit Pistons, 105-97 on Wednesday night.

Stephen Curry led all scorers with 31 points and had eight assists. David Lee added 20 points and 15 rebounds for the W’s second straight win as the team continues its seven game homestand.

The Warriors would start the game on a 15-5 run, yet watched a 12-point first-half lead evaporate as both teams were tied 50-50 at the break.

Whatever Coach Mark Jackson told his team in the locker room seemed to have worked. Golden State would regain its 12-point lead, but two sloppy turnovers cut it to a five point edge at the end of three quarters.

Detroit would get the lead down to three points in the fourth, but the Warriors took control of the game with a 16-9 run to lead 96-86 with 4:27 remaining.

Golden State would keep pace and close it out by an eight-point margin.

The win was important for the Warriors because the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, and LA Lakers are all on their heels trying to jockey for playoff positioning. Houston won but  Utah and Los Angeles both lost. The Lakers Kobe Bryant was injured and is ruled out indefinitely with an ankle injury.

The Warriors have a 1.5 game lead on the seventh place Rockets while the Lakers are three games back for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.  Utah is 3.5 games back in ninth place.

Lee admitted they’re guilty of scoreboard watching.

Warriors forward David Lee

“I’d be lying to you if we werent. We were all watching the Utah game, the Lakers game, and the Houston game while we were in here getting warmed up in here for our game.  I’ve been on a lot of teams where at this point, you’re just waiting for the season to get over and it doesn’t matter what else is going on because you’re not in any kind of race. We’re going to make the most of it and that’s what we’ve done these last two games.”

Jarrett Jack was busy after the Knicks game shooting jumpers for 30 minutes and the extra practice paid off. Jack was 7-of-11 scoring 19 points off the bench.

Warriors guard Jarrett Jack

“That’s what the NBA is about. We know we’re a very capable offensive ballclub. But some nights, that’s not going to be the thing that carries you. The one thing you can always take pride in is effort on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. And for us, we know if we get that defensive end going, the offensive end is that much easier for us.”

As for the Pistons, this team is beyond bad. They’re 0-for-March, having lost seven straight. Head coach Lawrence Frank is also away from the team and missed three games to be with his wife who has an undisclosed illness.  Serving as the interim coach is Brian Hill who guided the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 1995. He also coached the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Detroit Pistons interim coach Brian Hill

“There’s no consolation in losing but if we compete for 48 minutes the way we competed for the better part of the game tonight. We’ve got to go to Portland with the mindset of getting a win and it’ll be a character game and we’ve got to close out the (road) trip on a positive note.”

The Warriors will have a huge test on Friday when they welcome in the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are second in the Central Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. But you can bet they’ll be steaming mad after getting destroyed by the Sacramento Kings, 121-79.  Lee says the Warriors are prepared to expect a challenge regardless of the blow out loss.

“Yeah, saw the score. Even if that didn’t happen they’re going to be ready to play on Friday and I think they’re going to have some added incentive so we’re going to have to come out ready to go.”

Notes

The Warriors are 37-29 at the 66-game mark which is 14 more wins than the team had in the shortened 66-game schedule last season. … Curry made five 3-pointers and Curry became the first Warrior in franchise history to make 200 threes in a season to eclipse the 194 set by Dorell Wright in the 2010-11 season. … Forward Draymond Green sprained his left ankle in the first half and didn’t return. He is day to day. … Detroit has the current longest active losing streak in the NBA including five-straight on the road and 0-13 in road games against the Western Conference.