What we learned as Steph seals Warriors’ close win over Pistons

What we learned as Steph seals Warriors’ close win over Pistons originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry made four free throws and hit two clutch 3-pointers in the final 92 seconds as the Warriors held off the pesky Detroit Pistons 113-109 on Friday night at Chase Center.

Curry finished with 26 points, six rebounds and four assists to help Golden State bounce back one day after blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead and losing to the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets on Nikola Jokic‘s improbable last-second shot.

The Warriors led most of the way and didn’t wilt down the stretch this time. Instead, they were the team that came back in the end.

Bojan Bogdanovic made a 3-pointer with 1:41 remaining to give the Pistons a 103-102 lead. Curry followed with two free throws and then made a step-back 3-pointer off a Detroit turnover.

He made another 3-pointer shortly after that, then ultimately sealed the Warriors’ win with two free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining,

Dario Saric had his best game in more than a month, finishing with 17 points. Klay Thompson had 19 points and four assists, and Jonathan Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis added 11 points apiece.

The win was huge for Golden State, even though lowly Detroit has won just three games this season. The Warriors have been on an emotional roller-coaster much of the season, and they could hardly afford to lose to the NBA’s worst team.

Here are the three takeaways from the win that improved the Warriors’ record to 17-18.

Saric shines off the bench

Saric has provided big minutes for the Warriors almost all season, and he did it again Friday while coming off the bench for his highest scoring total since Nov. 24.

Saric spent much of his night defending former Warriors center James Wiseman, who had an emphatic one-handed dunk and was fouled by Saric in the first half. But Wiseman scored just four points and missed four of his five shot attempt.

Saric was most efficient on offense, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and making three 3-pointers.

Among Saric’s highlights were taking a bounce pass from Chris Paul and nailing a 3-pointer in the second quarter. He later fed Trayce Jackson-Davis cutting down the lane for a three-point play in the third quarter, then made a clutch 3-pointer later in the period.

Kuminga’s comeback

One day after being left on the bench for the entire fourth quarter during the Warriors’ epic meltdown against the Nuggets, Kuminga remained in the starting lineup and continued his recent stretch of solid play with his 15th consecutive game in double-figure scoring.

After ditching his dreads for a clean-shaven look, Kuminga shot 4 of 8 from the field, was a team-leading plus-16 and added his daily dunk down the lane in the first quarter.

Kuminga, who has forced his way into Golden State’s lineup, logged 35 minutes and 38 seconds on the court, his most extensive playing time this season. He also was on the court for the final minutes, unlike one day earlier, when he was on the bench during crunch time.

Wiseman’s return

Wiseman, the Warriors’ 2020 first-round draft pick, made his first appearance at Chase Center since being traded to Detroit last February as part of a four-team deal. He came off the bench and wasn’t much of a factor at all.

Wiseman did have a big block on a layup attempt by Thompson but didn’t do much noteworthy outside of that play.

Wiseman has been held under 10 points in 13 of his last 17 games, numbers that showed why the Warriors were willing to move on when they made the trade.

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