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Warriors reach new heights with win over Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Stephen Curry nearly notched a triple-double in leading the Golden State Warriors to a 104-96 win at Detroit that lifted them to a season-high 13 games over .500.

After the Warriors grinded out their fourth in a row after the All-Star break, their record moved to 35-22 to mark the latest point in the season the team had reached that high point in Curry's time in the NBA.

But Curry, whose 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists helped push aside a Pistons comeback, was far from satisfied.

"Our expectations are higher than that," Curry said of the Warriors' matching their high of 13 games over .500 last season. "And it's a good checkpoint for us to keep that upward trend, but we're not satisfied with that.

"It's nice to know after my five years this is the best we've been, so that's a good feeling, but we want more."

Red-hot Golden State, which has the Western Conference's longest current winning streak, is hoping to once again use a long road trip through the East to improve its position in the standings.

The Warriors got off to a good start by cooling down the Pistons, who shot 29.8 percent from the field in the second half and were unable to make a field goal in the game's final four minutes.

Curry and Klay Thompson, who was 8 for 12 from the field to also finish with 19 points, took advantage with shots down the stretch. And in a display of his overall ability on a night when he was 3 for 9 from long distance, Curry grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out for a Steve Blake 3-pointer that gave the Warriors the lead for good at 92-90.

"We're a defensive-minded team, and that's the key," said coach Mark Jackson, whose team rebounded after allowing Detroit to score 62 first-half points. "That's why our act travels."

The Warriors displayed their grit as well. Andrew Bogut played in his first game in three weeks since beginning to feel shoulder inflammation and contributed four points and seven rebounds. Without David Lee (stomach flu), Jermaine O'Neal started and again delivered with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

"I like the way we won it, because it's not going to necessarily be flashy and fun every single night," O'Neal said. "If we're going to have a chance on really competing for a championship, these are the type of games you're going to have to win in the playoffs.

"These games like this build the character, build the image of our team. We want to be a defensive team."

The Pistons did find success with 54 points in the paint, many coming on easy dunks. Greg Monroe scored a game-high 23 points, with Josh Smith and Kyle Singler adding 18 points apiece.

Rough stretches for the Warriors were quickly corrected because of the play of their bench, which was led by Jordan Crawford's 15 points -- his best game with Golden State -- and Harrison Barnes' 11 points.

Crawford has raised his level of play since the arrival of Blake in a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, allowing the Detroit native who also arrived in a midseason deal to take on more of a scoring role.

"A high-basketball-IQ player is easy to play with," Crawford said of Blake.

The Warriors have five games left against Eastern Conference teams on their road trip, and getting this win to reach 13 games over .500 actually reminded Curry of all the wins they might have had at home before the All-Star break that went for losses instead.

"It kind of makes it frustrating, because we could have been here in better position," Curry said. "We only can control what's ahead of us, and that's what we're doing."

-- Lee missed a second straight game and hopes to join the team at some point on the road trip, as Jackson said the forward was "feeling better."

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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