Pistons play their best game of the season to bulldoze the defending champion Warriors


The Pistons’ organization honored Ben Wallace by putting his jersey in the rafters. The Pistons’ players honored his legacy by giving the 37-3, defending champion Warriors just their second full strength loss of the season!

64. 95. 41. Final. 113

What a game! Beating Golden State isn’t easy. But the Pistons didn’t just beat them, they blew them out with a complete team effort. No Piston played poorly tonight. Pretty much the only time you can normally say that is when the Pistons don’t have a game.

The Pistons benefited more from the whistles in this one than the Warriors. But the real key is that the Warriors unraveled when the calls weren’t going their way. They picked up three technical fouls and had about a dozen possessions when they looked like they were playing frustrated basketball instead of smart, calm basketball.

For most of the game, Golden State was actually getting better shots than Detroit. And they are better shooters than the Pistons. So it was a bit of a miracle that the Pistons were hitting more. But that miracle would only have added up to a close win for the Pistons at best. The blowout was because they played harder, smarter, and more composed basketball. Go Pistons!

A-. Jackson put together the rare sort of game that can make explosive, athletic players like him so dangerous: he was both aggressive and under control. This was only his second game in Detroit and just his fourth overall in which he has logged at least eight assists without turning the ball over. On the other hand, he was overmatched defending Klay Thompson and he missed two technical fouls when the game was very much still up for grabs. The former is understandable, although not ideal. The latter could very easily have come back to haunt the Pistons if they hadn’t put together so complete an effort.. PG. Pistons. REGGIE JACKSON

A. Caldwell-Pope was incredible on both ends of the court. He was the primary reason they had a lead at all, let alone 16 points at halftime. He was channeling shades of Kobe sticking one elbow jumper after another. But his defense on Curry is really what set his game apart. Curry ended up with 38 points on very efficient shooting, so you might think I’m crazy right now if you only saw the box score.<p>But Curry is the key to the Warriors because of how the looming threat of his shot contorts and breaks defenses. In this game, on the other hand (especially in the third quarter), the Warriors’ entire offense was contorting itself and often breaking down in order to spring Curry free of KCP’s blanketing arms. This was never more evident that in a pair of possessions when Curry hit threes on the run only to have them disqualified because his teammates had to set illegal screens on Pope to get Steph enough daylight to release his shots. The one place KCP could have improved his defense was awareness as Curry brought the ball up the floor. There were three possessions in which he was waiting for Curry to approach the three point line in order to start defending, and Steph popped in triples from about six extra feet back.</p>. SG. Pistons. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE

A. Morris hit some crucial, tough shots. On the other end, he defended very well. It looked to me like he got the most time on Green, but he also covered Curry, Thompson, and Barnes. Regardless of his mark, Morris denied him any glimpse of the basket to get off a shot. To do so, he sacrificed the passing lanes to kick out to teammates. I probably wouldn’t have chosen that strategy especially for when guarding Green, but it worked very well. Draymond got a lot of dimes, but the Pistons were also jumping passing lanes exceedingly well and ended up with a couple steals and burning a lot of Golden State shot clock by forcing them to pass.. SF. Pistons. MARCUS MORRIS

Ilyasova always surprises me with his hustle plays. He’s not a focal point of the Pistons on either end so he tends to disappear for stretches. Then, out of nowhere, he comes up with a big play. He did that several times tonight. A couple key offensive rebounds for second chance buckets, two huge blocks at the rim, and a beautiful pump fake from beyond the arc that got Draymond sailing through the air. He neatly sidestepped and buried the ensuing shot. He was late to return to Harrison Barnes twice when he rotated in to provide help defense when a slasher got by his man, but he provided some very good help defense. I’ll happily live with two blown recoveries per game.. PF. Pistons. ERSAN ILYASOVA. A

A. Drummond attempted a lot of difficult shots. Sometimes he got fouled but didn’t get the whistle. And a couple times he hung his head and stopped providing effort. But he never checked out for more than one possession. That’s key, because mopey Drummond has cost the Pistons a few games this year. His continued energy in battling for rebounds helped prevent a couple Golden State runs that might have otherwise let the game come down to some late heroics. Andre also made some big defensive stops this game that he makes almost every game but that usually get called as fouls on him. Those are iffy calls that can reasonably go either way so I’m not saying the officiating tonight was better or worse, but that really helped. Hopefully, he’s learning a couple tricks to make himself slightly less likely to get penalized.. C. Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND

C+. Jennings missed some shots he should have made and didn’t look great out there, but he attacked and helped keep the Warriors on their heels. And he looked shockingly competent guarding Livingston.. PG. Pistons. BRANDON JENNINGS

A. Johnson smothered Iguodala. He wasn’t a big part of the Pistons’ offense, but he made the most of a couple opportunities. His above the break triple from way deep as the shot clock died was a beauty. And I loved how on a fast break after stealing the ball, instead of attempting a tough layup around two defenders, he faked the shot (very convincingly as he almost always takes that) and fed a trailing Jennings for an easy two.. SF. Pistons. STANLEY JOHNSON

Baynes played a perfect game. Short of getting more minutes, I predict he will never play a better one in his career. The Pistons were plus-15 in his less than 10 minutes, he hit all six shots (some easy, some tough), he blocked two shots that would otherwise have been easy field goals for Golden State, and came up with four boards. The rebounding is the only thing I could imagine him doing better on in so little time, and it’s not like he did poorly in that regard.. C. Pistons. ARON BAYNES. A+

Pistons. ANTHONY TOLLIVER. C+. Tolliver came the closes to breaking down my claim that no Piston played poorly. He didn’t have a bad game, though–just a thoroughly unremarkable one.. PF

A-. Jennings went down with an injury forcing Stan Van Gundy to pull out his third-string point guard. Blaked filled in admirably, playing one of his better games of the year in spite of very limited minutes. When it looked like the Warriors might have been mounting a comeback, he came in and helped extend the lead instead with smart play and a couple huge triples. He made his only two shots–one of them a really tough attempt with Curry all over him. He was hopeless trying to stay in front of Barbosa, though. That’s where the brilliant rim defense of the Pistons big men tonight really payed off.. PG. Pistons. STEVE BLAKE

A. Van Gundy came in with a great game plan in terms of who guarded whom. I was skeptical he might not because the Warriors ae just so tough to find any way to match up against. And he trusted his players all games, made substitutions at sensible junctures, and didn’t panic whenever the warriors put together a little run. I find coaching a very difficult thing to grade. But I don’t think I could ask for much better than tonight.. Head Coach. Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY

On a final note, the Ben Wallace ceremony was awesome. It was a bit weird seeing Big Ben with neither the fro nor the cornrows and instead with a very salt and pepper buzz cut, but it was also just great to see him in the palace again. The only disappointing thing about the ceremony was that Joe Dumars didn’t make it.