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Warriors vs. Pistons preview: Golden State comes to town at the worst possible time

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The Pistons are losers of four straight and now host the Warriors. Gulp.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the year and with Kevin Durant in a Warriors’ uniform, there were a handful of experts, bloggers, tweeters, talking heads trying to poke holes in Golden State’s roster:

“No bench.”

“No rim protector, they’ll miss Bogut.”

“It’ll take time for them to gel.”

“Not enough shots to go around.”

After the Warriors were ran out of the gym on opening night by the San Antonio Spurs, the same experts, bloggers, tweeters and talking heads collectively yelled “See!” Since then, though, they don’t have much to say. The Warriors are awesome and might be pissed about what happened last year while visiting metro Detroit.

Game Vitals

When: December 23, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. EST

Where: Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

To beat the Warriors, it’s simple, you must be perfect.

P-E-R-F-E-C-T

Perfect on offense; perfect on defense; perfect on special teams; perfect with runners in scoring position; perfect penalty killing; perfect parking.

For the Pistons’ sake, perfect play is a equal parts discipline and basketball IQ - two traits that have escaped Detroit as of late.

Discipline

For all the ‘Splash Brother’ talk, this team loves to score from the paint (4th in the league at 46.9 points in the paint per game). If you lose track of any Warrior on the floor, look at the basket, he’s probably laying it in:

Like a quarterback throwing to a receiver who has yet to make his break, KD tosses a back door pass to Klay Thompson before Thompson even makes a move to the basket.

Then we see another example of perfect Warrior timing. As the ball is entered to Draymond Green, Stephen Curry back doors a sleeping Allen Crabbe.

Below, Jrue Holiday is too worried about denying Curry the ball that he completely forgets to help Anthony Davis (playing way too tight on Green) on the back screen:

Davis’ guy scores but technically, it’s Holiday’s fault.

If the Pistons are going to stand a chance, they must remain true to their defensive principles. No silly Drummond double teams, no getting sucked into lane, none of that.

Basketball IQ

Golden State is good enough to beat you on their own so don’t help them out by beating yourself.

First, on a Curry-Thompson screen, both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum initially chase Thompson leaving the reigning 2x MVP all by himself.

Then we find Klay Thompson feeding the post and immediately setting a cross screen. Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings make a seemingly smart switch except for the fact that Jennings is in no position to cut off a wide open lane. Thompson takes advantage and make a bee line to the hoop.

Effective on-court communication is the key ingredient binding discipline and bball IQ together. Without it, you don’t stand a chance.

All this and we haven’t even touched the three ball aspect of their offense.

****

Below is the single play that put this version of the Golden State Warriors on everyone’s radar - the Stephen Curry/Draymond Green high pick and roll:

Green is so fantastic in this role and is invaluable to the success of the Warriors.

While this play ends in a dunk for Javale McGee, look at Durant in the corner:

How is that fair; how do you stop that?

Projected Lineups

Golden State

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Zaza Pachulia, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer (maybe?)

Prediction

Warriors 115, Pistons 93