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Warriors at Pistons preview: Detroit looks to end four game skid against Curry-less Golden State

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The Pistons went 0-4 on the road and return home to host the defending champions.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Way back on October 29th, the Detroit Pistons capitalized on 26(!) Golden State Warriors’ turnovers to leave the Bay Area a 104-100 115-107 winner. The road victory raised eyebrows throughout the league and helped Detroit catapult to a 14-6 record start to the season.

Since blowing out an over-matched Phoenix Suns team at home, though, the Pistons have lost four straight road games heading into tonight’s rematch with the defending champions.

Game Vitals

When: Friday, December 8th at 7 p.m. EST

Where: Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, MI

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit (ESPN, League Pass)

Analysis

Stephen Curry is out with ankle sprain and Draymond Green is questionable due to a sore shoulder. Injuries to such accomplished pieces would quickly sink most teams but the Warriors aren’t constructed like most teams.

Less Curry and Green loosely translates into more Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Golden State beat Charlotte on the road 101-87 thanks in large part to a healthy dose of Durant and Thompson as they combined for 57 points on 42 attempts.

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No team in the league relies on quick buckets more than Golden State. Over 20 percent of their possessions come from transition which is an environment both Durant and Thompson thrive in.

Thompson registers an absurd 1.505 PPP on the run with a heavy amount of looks coming beyond the arc:

Merely pushing the ball demands the defense to promptly retreat. Even if the Warriors initially don’t score off transition, the threat of doing so will make crashing the offensive glass an “at your own risk” strategy for the Pistons.

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In the half court, Durant is nearly unstoppable in isolation:

While Thompson’s possessions come from an off-screen movement nearly 33 percent of the time:

While pick-and-roll action isn’t synonymous with the Warriors, it often times sets up open looks:

None of the above examples get directly credited to the PNR but it’s the PNR that began each attack. Derived offense from the pick-and-roll sits at 1.083 PPP for the Warriors which is the most efficient in the league (Pistons are ranked fourth in the same scenario at .996 PPP).

What to watch for

Golden State uses two distinct actions when looking for the long ball during the fast break.

First, when two sprinting Warriors are on the same side, one—usually not Thompson—turns on the after burners and cuts to the other side collecting defensive eye balls and attention along the way leading to an open Thompson:

Next, when Thompson is on the opposite side of the pushed basketball, a Warriors’ teammate on the same side of the ball will headhunt Thompson’s man as he cuts along the baseline:

One of those looks will happen tonight - I put the Mike Snyder Guarantee (MSG for short) on it.

Projected Lineup

Golden State

Jordan Bell, Klay Thompson, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, Kevin Durant

(Stephen Curry - out; Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia - questionable)

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris

Prediction

The four game skid ends tonight in front of dozens and dozens of rowdy Pistons’ fans at the LCA.

Warriors 100, Pistons 104