Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, left, each score more than 20 as Golden State rides a secondhalf surge to beat the Pistons 127-107.
Late in the first quarter Thursday night, Stephen Curry leaped into the key and found Ian Clark wide open in the far corner.
Clark took one dribble, allowed a moment to gather his feet and netted a high-arcing three-pointer. With a towel draped across his shoulder on the sideline, Kevin Durant slid his feet, scrunched his face and fanned Clark.
It was the type of unbridled excitement that three-pointers have provided the Warriors numerous times the past few years. In its 127-107 rout Thursday of Detroit, Golden State reminded a sellout Oracle Arena crowd of 19,596 just how potent it can be beyond the arc.
The Warriors finished 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) from three-point range, with five players — Durant (25 points, nine assists), Curry (24 points, five steals), Klay Thompson (23 points), Clark (14 points) and Andre Iguodala (eight points) — hitting multiple treys. In the third quarter, after a first half that featured 21 lead changes, Golden State used an 8-for-12 showing from deep to outscore the Pistons 41-19 and erase all suspense.
While three-pointers fueled the Warriors, they were the ruin of a Detroit team trying to contend for the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. The Pistons were a combined 6-for-28 (21.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Marcus Morris (team-high 21 points), Tobias Harris (18) and Reggie Jackson combined to miss 13 of 16 three-point shots.
“The way the game is played these
“Tonight was one of our better nights from three for the year. I expect us to shoot better from three the second half of the season.” Steve Kerr, Warriors head coach
days, it’s really important to be able to guard the three-point line,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said. “All you have to do is look at all the best teams in the league. They all shoot the three well, so it’s something we’ve got to continue to do.”
The Warriors’ 1,077 three-pointers last season shattered the previous NBA record of 933 set by the 2014-15 Rockets. A season after sinking a league-record 286 threes, Curry became the first player to hit 400 in a season (402). Golden State, which finished shooting 41.6 percent beyond the arc, became the sixth team in NBA history to convert at least 40 percent of its threepoint shots.
Then it added Durant, who ranked 11th in the league last season with 186 threes. The four-time NBA scoring champion was coming off five straight seasons in which he shot better than 38 percent behind the arc. A master at spacing the floor, Durant’s signing raised an intriguing question: Could the Warriors become even better from three-point range?
As the season’s midway point nears, Golden State has been less successful — albeit, still elite by most standards — from its signature part of the court. Though they entered Thursday leading the league in scoring (117.3 points per game), field-goal percentage (49.8), assists (31) and fast-break points (21.8), the Warriors were only fourth in both threepoint percentage (37.9) and three-pointers made (455). Houston, easily No. 1 in the NBA with 613 treys, was on pace to break the Warriors’ season record, which seemed almost untouchable only months ago.
“To be honest, I don’t think we’ve shot it that well the first half of the season,” said Kerr, whose team recorded its league-best 27th game with 30 assists this season. “Tonight was one of our better nights from three for the year. I expect us to shoot better from three the second half of the season.”
In the first half Thursday, the Pistons shot 24-for-34 (70.5 percent) on two-pointers to enter intermission down two points. But they had little answer for Golden State’s three-point barrage in the third. As their defense tightened and the long-range bombs rained, the Warriors raced to a 26-point lead.
They were left reveling in their seventh win in eight games. After a rash of close victories, a second-half blowout gave Durant and others plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Now, they have three days to prepare for a Cleveland team that has won four games in a row against Golden State.
“I’m very excited about that,” Draymond Green said. “I don’t know when is the last time we had three days off.”
Stephen Curry stops and pops. Curry made 9 of his 17 shots, including 3-of-9 from three-point range, and had 24 points in the Warriors’ victory.
Zaza Pachulia signals that, yes, that was a three-pointer that Stephen Curry had hit during the first half.