The Warriors have a knack for falling behind big and making comebacks (though they've rarely completed them), so, adding in how the Pistons played late in the Los Angeles and Denver games, I was not terribly surprised to see the Pistons lose their 13-point halftime lead. The Warriors color commentator, Jim Barnett, had a nose for it, too -- early in the third quarter he announced that he sniffed a Warriors comeback win.
Everything I read this morning, before finally watching the game, referred to a Pistons fourth quarter let down. The real collapse, though was in the third quarter. Thanks to eight turnovers (four from Richard Hamilton -- three coming on consecutive possessions) and 3-7 shooting from the free throw line (two misses from Jonas Jerebko and one from Rip), the Warriors were able to outscore the Pistons 29-19 to cut what was once a 14-point lead to just three heading into the fourth. The Warriors who converted 15 field goals (35%) in the first two quarters combined, made 12-24 in the third. Meanwhile, the Pistons started the quarter 6-8, but finished a dreadful 2-10.
Sure, the final four minutes in the fourth sealed the Pistons fate. With just under four minutes to go, Jerebko crashed the offensive glass and tipped in two to give the Pistons a five point lead, but came down awkwardly on Stephen Curry's foot, sending him to the hardwood in pain. Golden State took advantage of the five-on-four on the other side of the court to hit an open three and cut the lead to two.
Following the injury timeout, the Warriors decided to completely drain the Pistons mojo and implemented the "Hack-a-Ben" strategy that helped the Spurs mount a comeback last week. Wallace went 1-4 from the line, but the strategy only helped the Warriors to a plus-one before Wallace was pulled for Charlie Villanueva with the Pistons leading by one.
Unfortunately, that Wallace free throw was the last point the Pistons would score. In the final 3:27, the Pistons were outscored 8-0, thanks to the Pistons shooting 0-6 (another Wallace 0-2 from the free throw line) and turning it over twice (Prince and Villanueva's moving screen).
So, yeah, that comeback whiff of air that came over Jim Barnett early in the third turned out to be the stink coming from the roadkill in the blue jerseys.