Curry comes on late as Warriors hold off Pistons
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Moments after a hard-fought victory to finish back-to-back games at home, the Golden State Warriors found out they will be without veteran leader Chris Paul for the unforeseeable future.
Paul fractured his left hand in a 113-109 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night and will require surgery next week. He’s expected to return this season.
“I feel for him but at the same time it's next man up,” rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis said. “Chris never loses his voice and so being on the bench, being able to talk to us, that's one of his biggest attributes and that's something that he won't lose. He'll still be invested in the game.”
Stephen Curry scored 12 of his 26 points over the final 1:32 with a pair of 3-pointers, emphatically answering after Bojan Bogdanovic’s go-ahead 3 with 1:41 to play as the Warriors held on to beat the last-place Pistons.
The 38-year-old Paul missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6:08 left in the third quarter and moved to try to corral the long rebound when he made contact with Detroit’s Jaden Ivey. Paul grabbed at his hand and went to the locker room.
Curry called it a freak injury — and just the latest in a series of hand issues for the 19th-year veteran through his career. Curry credits Paul for constantly “giving everybody on the team something motivational or inspirational.”
“I guess in the short term hopefully he can be on the bench and be vocal,” Curry said.
Paul had started the past four games but has also guided the reserves so far this season.
"It's going to take a collective effort," said guard Brandin Podziemski, an option to move back into the starting lineup during Paul's absence.
Detroit's Cade Cunningham made a driving reverse layup with 2:10 to play that tied it at 100 and wound up with 30 points. He also scored five straight points down the stretch to pull the Pistons to 95-94 at the 4:20 mark of the fourth.
Curry shot 7 for 19 while missing eight of his first nine 3-point tries before hitting from the baseline with 2:58 remaining.
Jonathan Kuminga had 11 points and six rebounds making his 12th straight start during Draymond Green’s indefinite league suspension after the third-year forward didn’t play the final 18 minutes during Thursday nigh in a last-second loss to the Nuggets — something coach Steve Kerr said was based on Andrew Wiggins’ strong play in the second half.
Golden State pulled this one off 24 hours after squandering a late 18-point lead following a 44-point third quarter and watching Nikola Jokic hit a 40-footer as defending champion Denver won it 130-127.
Kerr struggled to get over it, so shocked at what had happened.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of sleep last night I can tell you that,” he said. “That’s about as tough a loss as I can remember since I’ve been here. But it’s part of the NBA, you go through the 82 and there’s just nights like this where you can’t believe what just happened.”
The Pistons (3-32) played yet another close game as James Wiseman made his first return to Chase Center to face his former Golden State team since being traded last February. The big man received a warm welcome back greeting upon entering the game in the first quarter.
Warriors guard Moses Moody felt the love from the fans, too, when he entered the game in the fourth quarter to a standing ovation following three straight games not getting on the floor. There were chants of “Moody! Moody!” all game long.
Moody will be called upon to play more now.
Kerr was immediately concerned about Paul.
”I saw him holding it and instantly was worried. Just got the word after walking off the floor. So I feel terrible for Chris and obviously guys will step up and be ready to play,” Kerr said. “We’ve got to hold down the fort without him.”
Golden State went 1 for 9 on 3s in the opening period and 3 of 15 by halftime before finishing 16 of 38.
Pistons: At Denver on Sunday.
Warriors: Host Toronto on Sunday.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba