The Detroit Pistons knocked off the defending champs on their home floor and improved to 13-7 on the season. Unlikely players stood out in this one.
The Golden State Warriors welcomed Stephen Curry back into the lineup Saturday night, as did the Pistons. Detroit extended Golden State’s losing streak on the road in a 111-102 victory.
In his first game back, the Pistons gave Curry the gift of Bruce Brown’s defense and more turnovers than field goals to close the second half – three turnovers and two field goals.
Steph’s seven points, on 2-of-9 shooting from the floor, was not the more awe-striking event that took place at LCA. But, we’ll get back to Steph in a second.
There was an awakening of sorts. Stanley Johnson, that is. He scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. Johnson decided he was going to attack from the moment he hit the court. He did. And he never stopped.
Before the game started, I assumed it would be Johnson’s defense on Kevin Durant that would make headlines. I can remember a series against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers where Johnson was presumed to have arrived.
The inconsistency that Pistons’ fans dread disappeared as he led the bench unit on a tear that highlighted his ability to run the floor with a disregard that makes players dangerous with a full head of steam.
Plainly stated, Stanley Johnson was in his bag. The best part was that he wasn’t the only one.
Bruce Brown is making a name for himself defensively in this league. From fighting over the screens set by Kevon Looney to taking away Curry’s angles in the paint, Brown was glued to Curry in the first half.
He kept arguably the greatest shooter on ice, or whatever the cold indicator is for a scorer like Steph. The shots started to fall, but uncomfortably so. It was the aggressive energy that Brown and other Pistons players brought tonight that toppled the defending NBA champions.
It is the kind of reckless abandonment that Coach Casey promotes.
At the beginning of the season, one of the key words I kept hearing was “free”. The standing Coach of the Year would introduce a defined, but adjustable style of play to a Detroit Pistons team that had been restricted in their roles under previous coaching/management.
Casey’s system came to life before our eyes as each player trusted one another to play with the current of the game. They flowed freely. Just like Casey said it would.
Andre Drummond’s free throw shooting forced Casey to take him out of the game late. You know, the old “Hack a Dre”. He shot 2-of-8 at the charity stripe. I’d have probably taken him out too.
Reggie Jackson is coming in hot. It starts off rough, but by the end of tonight’s game, he delivered a three-point gut punch to the Golden State Warriors. The confidence is coursing through his veins.