OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Stephen Curry had 31 points and eight assists, David Lee added 20 points and 15 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors grinded out a 105-97 victory over the struggling Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
Jarrett Jack finished with 19 points and five assists off the bench and hit some big shots late to make sure the Warriors avoided a monumental setback. They improved to 4-2 on their season-high, seven-game homestand, which ends Friday against Chicago, and remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston for sixth place in the Western Conference.
Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points and Kyle Singler had 16 in Detroit’s seventh straight loss. Reserve Will Bynum added 16 points to help fill the void left by Brandon Knight, who sat out with a sprained left ankle.
A seemingly one-sided matchup hardly looked like it for most of the night.
After crushing the New York Knicks 92-63 on Monday, Golden State’s co-captains carried the Warriors on a night the team often looked lethargic and uninterested. Curry was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and Lee added five assists in another strong performance while wearing a white wrap around his bruised left knee.
The Warriors outshot the Pistons 57 to 45 percent.
Even though Detroit is well out of playoff contention, the Warriors have little room for error — especially when facing one of the NBA’s worst teams.
The Los Angeles Lakers (34-32) lost 96-92 at Atlanta to fall three games behind the Warriors and stayed in the eighth and final playoff spot. The Lakers also lost Kobe Bryant to a severely sprained left ankle. He is out indefinitely.
Detroit now has had losing streaks of six (from Dec. 11-19), seven (presently) and eight (Oct. 31 to Nov. 12) games this season. Even with Knight and first-round pick Andre Drummond (stress fracture in his back) out indefinitely, the Pistons put a scare into the Warriors after a sloppy start.
Curry connected on a corner 3-pointer, then hit another to cap a 15-5 run in the first 3:02. The crafty point guard swished a short jumper later in the first quarter to give Golden State a 23-11 lead that seemingly had them running away with another blowout win.
Instead, the Warriors relaxed and the Pistons piled up points.
Stuckey stole a pass from Lee that led to a put-back layup from Bynum on the other end to put Detroit ahead by three. With the shot-clock winding down, Curry made his fourth 3-pointer to tie the score at 50 at the half.
Curry led the charge again in the third quarter, tossing in a pair of high-arcing finger rolls. He hit his fifth 3-pointer — starting 5 of 6 from beyond the arc — and made two free throws to put the Warriors up 80-68.
The pesky Pistons put up a fight until the end.
Bynum’s pull-up shot sliced Golden State’s lead to four midway through the fourth quarter. Jack answered with a jumper and a pair of free throws, and Klay Thompson’s reverse layup put the Warriors in front 96-86 with 4:27 remaining.
Detroit briefly fouled center Andrew Bogut walking up the floor. He made 1 of 2 free throws before Bynum hit another shot to bring the Pistons within six.
Then Curry split two defenders off a pick-and-roll by dribbling through his legs. He stopped in the lane and swished in a floater that put the Warriors ahead 102-94 to cement the victory.
Bogut had seven points and 10 rebounds as he continues to work his way back to full strength after left ankle surgery and protruding disk in his back causing spasms.
NOTES: Warriors SF Draymond Green sprained his left ankle in the first half and didn’t return. … Warriors coach Mark Jackson, also an undersized guard who was infamously dunked on by Tom Chambers in 1989, applauded Knight’s efforts for trying to stop Clippers C DeAndre Jordan’s viral alley-oop in Detroit’s loss at Los Angeles on Sunday. “I see people making jokes about it, but as a coach, you want him on your team,” Jackson said.
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