Pistons’ road trip continues in Golden State


  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (2-4) at Golden State Warriors (4-3)
  • Date: November 12, 2013
  • Time: 10:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After losing last night to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Detroit Pistons will make the second stop of their four-game western road trip tonight. The visitors will take on a Golden State Warriors team that has lost back-to-back games to the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Warriors have only played two homes games so far in this young season and have won both by double digits. Golden State has the feel of a team that might challenge for one of the top-four spots in the Western Conference playoffs in April.

Their three defeats have come against teams that were postseason participants during the 2012-13 campaign and in addition, Golden State is a better team this season in comparison to the previous.

The front office smartly put the full-court press during the offseason on Andre Iguodala and secured his services. The former Denver Nugget gives the Dubs a great perimeter defender to help complement Andrew Bogut’s work on the interior.

Also, Klay Thompson is an emerging defender that does a good job of playing position defense. Mind you, he is prone to biting on pump fakes. Even David Lee is doing a better job this season in contesting shots at the rim despite being a notoriously bad defender.

The change in roster construction (the team also brought in other solid defenders such as Toney Douglas and Jermaine O’Neal) and philosophy has allowed Golden State to defend at a league top-five rate.

What’s scary about the Warriors is actually the way they play on the other side of the ball. They possess one of the best offenses in the league, but have struggled to demonstrate it because of ball security issues.

In an effort to diversify the offense, Mark Jackson has put the ball in the hands of his perimeter players and put them in situations to make plays. It has not been a consistent option, but one that his team has explored nonetheless and it’s resulted in a multitude of turnovers.

The biggest culprit has been Stephen Curry. He has been incredibly sloppy with the ball and the team has suffered from it. At some point Golden State will figure out how to avoid the miscues and spend more time bombing away from deep then giving away the rock.

Indeed, the Warriors put teams in tough situations by forcing them to help defend players coming off screens with big men instead of guards. For instance, Golden State loves running pick-and-rolls between their guards to create mismatches.

Some teams will defend the action by switching, while others prefer to play it straight up. Curry ran the set against Memphis and look at the result:

Zach Randolph came over to thwart Thompson’s scoring attempt and also, because Thompson is such a great shooter, Mike Conley cheated over to help out as well. The Warriors 2-guard quickly fed Curry who hit the open 3-pointer.

This is merely one of the numerous ways Golden State will create high-percentage looks from downtown for perhaps the best shooting backcourt in the league. Teams typically adjust by having their big men step out a little further out on the hardwood to provide some help.

That opens up the floor for David Lee. The former Florida Gator moves well off the ball and also does a good job of catching and driving to the hoop for scores. The Warriors offense is a complex puzzle that changes form within the same contest.

With that said, the Pistons have an advantage that most teams can only dream of: Their team has mobile big men that step out on the perimeter occasionally. That’s a terrific luxury to have as far as trapping players coming off screens and then recovering back to the initial assignment.

The Pistons’ big men will probably end up deciding how the game is played and who the victors are.

Read about the Warriors

Warriors World.