BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Bouncing back from an embarrassing 35-point loss to Dallas on their home court last night, the Warriors returned to form on Sunday, establishing a 20 point lead after three quarters and holding on to score a 121-114 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Oracle Arena.
With the win, Golden State (50-23) regained the top spot in the Western Conference by 1/2 game over the Denver Nuggets with nine games remaining. The Warriors also extended a franchise record with their sixth consecutive season winning at least 50 games.
Andrew Bogut, appearing in just his fourth game since rejoining the Warriors after completing a season in the Australian League, started in place of DeMarcus Cousins and was instrumental in helping to shut down Pistons center Andre Drummond. Playing 23 minutes, Bogut limited the league’s leading rebounder to 12 points and 11 rebounds, while scoring eight points on 4-5 shooting himself.
Steph Curry led Golden State with 26 points while Klay Thompson added 24. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green each scored 14, with Green grabbing 11 boards and and Durant eight.
Blake Griffin paced Detroit with 24, while Luke Kennard led a strong effort from the Pistons reserves with 20 points on 8-12 shooting. The Pistons bench outscored Golden State’s 62-35, ultimately making a game out of it in the closing minutes.
Following the game, asked if it’s possible that the team “doesn’t care as much” in regards to the blow-out loss to Dallas, Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated “ What you have seen the last couple of years is that we have had some letdowns and some nights like that. It’s hard for anybody to understand what these guys go through physically, emotionally and spiritually just trying to defend the crown, trying to win the title and stay on top of the mountain. It’s hard and last night they had nothing. They had nothing in the tank. The great thing about this team, as I mentioned, is they always bounce back because they have so much pride. What they have accomplished – this team has the best record over the last four seasons as any four-year run in the history of the NBA. What they have done is just remarkable. Last night was tough, but it’s really tough to do what they have done too. We are going to give them a pass and we are going to move on.”
Durant, questioned why the Warriors focus was so much better against the Pistons, added “We got beat by 40, that was the reason why. It don’t matter what the game was, no matter what time of the year it was, you get beat by 40 you don’t want to get embarrassed like that again or just lose the next night, so I think we came out with a nice sense of urgency. We let go of that game but everybody in that locker room from the coaches on down are competitors, so in the back of their mind they just wanted to avenge that terrible loss. I liked our energy from the start.”
Golden State returns to action Wednesday night with a game in Memphis against the Grizzlies (29-44).
With the win, Steve Kerr joins Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only three coaches in NBA history to win 50 or more games in each of their first five seasons. It’s the tenth 50 win season in franchise history.
The Warriors made a season-high 61.3 percent of their shots from the field. Golden State, Denver and San Antonio are the only teams to record two games of 60.0 percent-or-better from the field this season.
Golden State is now 29-3 when scoring 120-plus points this season.