OAKLAND — Midway through the third quarter on Thursday night, Stephen Curry went careening through the paint. Just before reaching the basket, Curry chucked a pass clear across the floor to Kevin Durant who swished a 3-pointer.
The triple from Durant gave the Golden State Warriors their first double-digit lead of the night as the team proceeded to run away from the Detroit Pistons in an explosive third quarter. The Dubs outscored their guests 41-19 in the third, on the way to a comfortable 127-107 win.
“The third quarter was great,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “We knew we had to pick up our defense. The first half we weren’t making much of an impact at that end of the floor. We were kind of trading baskets. So, the third quarter was great and then I thought we did a good job of closing the game out.”
With Draymond Green distributing 13 assists, Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson handled the scoring. Durant went for a game-high 25 on a night when the offense was as balanced as it could be.
Curry added 24 — 19 of which came in the first half — and Thompson dropped 23.
Before that third-quarter outburst, which left Detroit head coach Stan Van Gundy stomping up and down the sideline, the Warriors floated through a leisurely opening half.
While Golden State briefly commanded a nine-point second-quarter advantage, the team entered the break up two, 60-58, after a first half that featured 21 lead changes.
After dispatching the Pistons, the Warriors now have three full days to rest and prepare for the Cleveland Cavaliers who visit Oakland on Monday for a Martin Luther King Day showdown.
“It’s a great rivalry and I think it’s a game that everyone who follows NBA looks forward to,” Kerr said. “There’s only two of them in the regular season and we’ve played them back-to-back in the Finals, so it’s become a much-anticipated rivalry game.”
“It’s good for the league. It’s good for us. It’s good for them and it should be fun.”
When asked if he’d rather see his team top the Cavs or play well, Kerr hedged.
“I’d like to do both. That’s the obvious answer,” Kerr said. “But we always try to focus on the process and keep getting better.”
Green didn’t hesitate when presented with the same options.
“Play well,” Green offered. “If we get better, we’ll win. If not, we’ll lose.”
Green insisted that whoever loses won’t be hitting the panic button following the final buzzer. He also sounded intent on avoiding defeat.
“I’m pissed with every loss,” Green said. “I hate losing. So, it don’t matter if it’s against the Cavs or my high school team. That really doesn’t matter.”