Late heroics from Stephen Curry has saved the Golden State Warriors from further embarrassment, with the two-time MVP scoring 11 points in the final 92 seconds to help his team past the league-worst Detroit Pistons.
After leading by 11 early in the fourth-quarter, another monumental Warrior collapse beckoned when the Pistons took the lead with 1:40 to go in the ball-game. But enter Curry who responded from his struggles late against the Nuggets, sinking free-throws and two huge threes to ensure Golden State escaped with victory.
While unconvincing and far from pretty, the Golden State Warriors secured a 113-109 win over the Detroit Pistons at Chase Center on Friday night
The tension in the air was palpable throughout the game as the Warriors were never able to edge away from a Pistons team who entered the night with a 3-31 record. Golden State led by two points after the opening period, four points at the main interval, and four again with a quarter to play.
With growing reports of player unrest, the delicate situation could have boiled over had a loss to Detroit eventuated. Yet as has often been the case for over a decade, Curry pulled some magic from his bag and eased the pressure somewhat if not only temporarily.
After reports earlier on Saturday suggested Jonathan Kuminga had "lost faith" in head coach Steve Kerr, it was only appropriate that the third-year forward would play the most minutes for the Warriors after controversially sitting for the final 18 against the Nuggets.
With the eyes of many around the league locked upon him, which were only exacerbated by a bold new haircut, Kuminga responded in positive fashion in an excellent first-half that yielded 11 points and four rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting.
Kuminga went scoreless and only took two shots in the second-half, yet played over 19 minutes as Kerr's sporadic use of the 21-year-old continued. With fans clamoring for more of Kuminga and chanting for fellow third-year lottery pick Moses Moody, Kerr eventually relented with the latter entering the game in the fourth-quarter.
Part of that came through an injury to veteran point-guard Chris Paul, with confirmation post-game that the 38-year-old would miss a significant period with a fractured left hand that requires surgery.
While Curry elevated the Warriors offensively with 26 points, it was fellow veteran Klay Thompson who wound back the clock with a few massive defensive plays late in the game. The 33-year-old had 19 points, three rebounds, four assists and two blocks, impacting despite shooting only 6-of-18 from the floor.
Big man duo Dario Saric and Trayce Jackson-Davis were each pivotal off the bench, combining for 28 points and 12 rebounds to keep Golden State afloat at times. Brandin Podziemski also had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists, but Andrew Wiggins scored just three points and played less than 19 minutes after Kerr had preferred him over Kuminga the night before.
Although the pressure remains on the Warriors ahead of a meeting with the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, their win actually elevates them into the Western Conference 10-seed after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies.