A night after their head coach questioned their toughness, the Detroit Pistons fought for four quarters, but they still came up short 120-109 against the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry led all scorers with 34 points, while the Pistons were led by 21 apiece from the starting backcourt of Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham.
“I’m so proud of the way we competed tonight with all these guys out. To have a chance to win a game like that says a lot about our team.”
The Pistons played just nine players, and largely just seven in the second half while also dealing with seven players who were out injured or ill. Jalen Duren was a late scratch, Joe Harris was out injured, and Jaden Ivey missed his second consecutive game with an illness. That trio joined Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, Alec Burks, and Isaiah Livers, who were already missing.
That led Detroit to turn to the deepest part of its bench — Stanley Umude, Jared Rhoden and James Wiseman.
Luckily for Detroit, Umude came to play. He scored a career-high 15 points and hit four of his five 3-pointers.
Unfortunately, James Wiseman could not do much against his former team. He was limited to zero points and three rebounds in 11 minutes of action.
Williams was diplomatic about his big man’s struggles off the bench tonight.
“It’s tough when you don’t have a rhythm. That’s a tough way to play, but especially against your old team,” Williams said of Wiseman’s struggles after not playing for several games.
Killian Hayes had his best game of the season with seven assists and four rebounds to go with his season-high 21 points. He also shot 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from three.
Early on it looked like it was going to be the Steph Curry Show. He hit his first two 3s of the game, both of the off-balance variety, and a third from 29 feet, and it was still just the third quarter.
The Pistons answered the call with some hot shooting of their own from both Hayes and also from Isaiah Stewart, who Williams implored to stop turning down open shots.
While he wasn’t perfect on that score, he did hit his first four jumpers, including three 3-pointers. He finished the night with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Aside from Steph Curry being Steph Curry, the game came down to Detroit’s inability to secure rebounds and keep Golden State off the glass.
Even as Williams praised his team’s grit as they were short-handed and battling the vaunted Warriors, he couldn’t escape the fact that the rebounding was the biggest issue in the game.
“They only shot 29% from 3,” Williams said. “But the thing that helped them tonight was they had opportunities to take 17 more shots.”
The Warriors bested Detroit on the glass, scored 20 more points in the paint, largely thanks to a 16-point advantage in second-chance points.
Ausar Thompson, who again stuffed the stat sheet took some of the blame for the rebounding struggles of his team.
The dynamic rookie finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and hit a three for the first time since opening night. But the rebounding stood out to him.
“I could have helped a little more on the rebounding end. Boxing out or crashing the board. Staying consistent and always locked in,” Thompson said after the game.
The Pistons will get a chance to put it all together and find themselves back in the winning column on Wednesday against the Bucks.
Hopefully by then they will have some reinforcements.