Detroit Pistons battle Warriors, refs and themselves

Jan 5, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots a
Jan 5, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots a / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons didn't waste any time starting a new losing streak in 2024, as they have lost all three games in the new year after finally breaking their historic losing streak.

If there were any moral victories in the NBA we could say the Pistons hung tight against the Warriors on the road and almost stole a win. But since there are no moral victories in professional sports, we can just say that the Pistons lost their third in a row and did it in typical fashion.

After going on a big run and eventually tying the game in the waning minutes, the Pistons predictably fell apart, as they have in the 4th quarter for most of the season. They had two key turnovers down the stretch and "allowed" (it's admittedly impossible to stop) two Stephen Curry 3-point shots that essentially sealed the game.

The Pistons turned it over just 11 times last night, but it didn't much matter, as the turnovers they did have were in key moments.

Detroit has been terrible in the clutch this season. "Clutch" time is defined as the last five minutes of a close game, and though the Pistons haven't played a ton of them, they've been awful in those situations when they have come up.

Related Story. 3 Possible win-win trades for the Pistons and Lakers. 3 Possible win-win trades for the Pistons and Lakers. dark

The Pistons have the 2nd-worst offensive rating in the league in the clutch and the worst defensive rating. They have the 2nd-worst net rating overall, just ahead of the woeful Wizards. They have the 2nd-worst assist percentage, worst assist to turnover ratio and are 23rd in turnover percentage.

The Pistons have the lowest effective field goal percentage in the NBA in the clutch and the 2nd-lowest true shooting percentage.

Even after playing a tight, relatively mistake-free game, the Detroit Pistons will find a way to blow it in the last few minutes even if they can keep it close. They are their own worst enemy in the clutch.

But last night the Warriors got some help.

The Detroit Pistons were the victims of some bogus whistles in the clutch

I'm not usually one to complain about the refs too much, but last night the Pistons shot just 10 free throws overall while the Warriors shot 25, which was the clear difference in the game.

In the five key possessions in the last 2+ minutes, the Warriors went to the line on three of them, and the other two were step-back 3-pointers from Curry.

Two of those plays were the refs simply rewarding Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry for getting into the lane and throwing their bodies into upright defenders, getting the call both times.

Do the Warriors really need to get those calls against the stinking Pistons? There isn't much you can do as a defender when Curry can just throw his body into you and get a call. He didn't beat anyone. He didn't gain an advantage. He just threw himself into the defender, initiated all of the contact and got the call.

Curry and Thompson combined shot three more free throws than the Pistons entire team.

The Pistons should expect this type of treatment when playing veteran teams like the Warriors, at least until Detroit starts winning some games, so it's hard to complain when so many of their problems are self-inflicted.