San Francisco – The Warriors have faced some tough challenges this season. In tonight’s 113-109 win over the Detroit Pistons, they lost veteran guard Chris Paul in the third quarter with a fractured left hand. He will undergo surgery next week and miss a significant amount of time. That now leaves the team down two guards (Paul and Gary Payton II) and Draymond Green.
“That’s tough. I feel so bad for Chris,” said Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr. “I know he’s had a couple of hand surgeries before I believe, it was on the other hand. Yeah, I saw him holding it and instantly was worried. Just got the word after walking off the floor. I feel terrible for Chris, guys will step up and be ready to play, and we’ve got to hold down the fort without him.”
“I feel for him but at the same time, it is next man up and something Chris never loses is his voice,” Tracye Jackson-Davis said on losing Paul. “Being on the bench able to talk to us, that is one of his biggest attributes. That is something that he won’t lose. He will still be invested in the game, and I feel for him.”
In his first year with the Warriors, Paul has made a huge impact. Especially with the second unit. Due to his leadership and veteran skill, Golden State’s bench has outscored their opponent for the 28th game this season (out of 35). He gets everyone involved and keeps them motivated, as well as improve their game. Dario Šarić tallied his eighth game of 15-or-more points this season.
“He really kind of raised my game and try to find me in every situation when I’m open and force me to play down there, and I’m really thankful,” said Saric’ on playing without Paul. “It’s going to be a big loss for my game probably but like what we can do, we can just figure out like is he going to get better sooner than later, be part of the team, it’s going to be tough. Not just for me but for all the guys, for the team, for the chemistry. It’s going to be tough, but you know that’s basketball.”
Brandin Podziemski recorded his eighth game with at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, a mark leading all rookies. He’s scored in double figures in 10 of the last 11 games including the last eight consecutively. Jackson-Davis has scored in double-figures in eight of the last 10 games. He led all Warriors with nine rebounds.
Jonathan Kuminga scored in double-figures for the 15th consecutive game, extending a career best streak. The backcourt is hungry, Paul did a great job guiding them on the court. Curry who controls the games points will now become vocal leader Paul was. Simple communication can be the catalyst to a good flow. The remaining two games will be challenging down three guys but the show must go on.
“I think everyone must step up a little bit,” Podziemski said. Gary (Payton II) and Chris are obviously out like you said. I was in the starting line-up, so I know how to play with those guys who are going to be in there if I start or Cory (Joseph) starts, or whoever he (Steve Kerr) decides to start. I feel comfortable and maybe I just need to be a little bit more assertive and aggressive in finding my teammates as well as areas for me to score. It will take a collective effort like it did tonight. Corey and Moses (Moody) gave us a great lift in the third and fourth quarter. I think that is what really kept us with the lead during that stretch.”
Tonight’s win was a testament to playing without Paul in the fourth. Again, the Warriors played aggressively in the third but allowed Detroit to stay close down the stretch. Curry who finished with 26 points and 6 rebounds, had 2 points in the first half. The Pistons did a good job against Golden State defensively.
“I mean, if you can hold Steph Curry to 26 points, you’ll take that every-single time,” said Detroit’s head coach Monty Williams said. “But again, looking at these numbers, it’s 25/10 free throws, you know what I’m saying. That is — that’s been a trend for us all year long. I get Steph is great. He’s uniquely gifted, historically great. But we were attacking the paint a lot tonight too. These free throw disparities are hard to swallow. Especially when I look at the film and I see our guys getting hit, just as much as their guys. So, yeah we did a pretty good job on Steph. Hold him to 26 points, you’ll take that every night.”
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