Sometimes it's as simple as the best players on a team getting it done, even on the road. Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors rolled into Detroit, and behind the Warriors' two best players suited up for the night, Monta Ellis and David Lee, they combined for 46 points on 17-26 shooting and sent their hosts home unhappy, 99-91.
Lee got things started early by scorching the Pistons for five first quarter baskets. Jonas Jerebko couldn't handle Lee, allowing three of his field goals for the quarter and six of Lee's 10 made shots on the night. As the game went back and forth in the first half, it was Lee keeping the Warriors in the game, scoring 17 of his team high 24 points in the first half. Even still, the Warriors found themselves trailing by four at the half.
The Pistons overcame Lee's early spurt by launching a 22-7 run midway through the second quarter. Leading the charge was the steady inside play of Greg Monroe, who led all scorers with 25 points and got to the line to make 13 of his 14 attempts from there. It wouldn't last.
Despite six Monroe free throws and a nine point quarter from Ben Gordon, the Warriors began an assault in the third quarter that would see the Pistons lose control of the lead and the game. Golden State, trailing 54-48, went on a 40-19 run in a 14-minute game span behind the work of Lee, Ellis and Dorell Wright, who had nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals in that quarter alone.
Ellis, meanwhile, was busy playing all 24 minutes of the second half and guiding the Warriors to a road victory by playing solid, in-control basketball. For that second half, Monta had 17 points, five of his seven assists, two rebounds, and shot 6-10 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line while only turning the ball over twice. During that same span, as a team, the Warriors shot 20-36 from the floor while the Pistons struggled to defend and keep up the scoring as well.
Detroit shot 14-35 from the field in the second half, leaving little mystery how the game slipped away from the Pistons. One mystery was this: Game standout Monroe played nine and a half minutes of the final quarter yet only received one shot attempt despite needing desperately to slow the Warriors' roll. The Warriors had struggled to keep the big man from scoring almost all night, making such a predicament extra puzzling.
The Warriors got contributions from other sources as well, as indicated by placing six players in double digits in points. Brandon Rush moved without the ball well, finding the open spaces around the perimeter early on to bag a pair of threes early on and then found the ball in transition around the basket enough to get to a 12-point night. Also, Ekpe Udoh had 10 points, six rebounds, three steals and four blocks in a busy 27 minutes.