Programming note: Warriors-Pistons coverage starts Sunday at 12 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territory restrictions apply)
The Warriors go into Detroit on Sunday afternoon with a simple goal. A win gives them a five-game sweep of their road trip and extends their overall streak to nine.
And, once again, the odds are in their favor.
New coach Stan Van Gundy is installing a new system and it's not going well for the Pistons. They have lost seven in a row – just as the Hornets had before the Warriors slapped them with an eighth straight loss on Friday. Three of Detroit's last four losses were by double digits.
The Warriors (13-2) are, by contrast, playing spectacular basketball, with a variety of contributors on offense and the ability to intensify defense seemingly on demand.
The Warriors overcame an eight-point deficit Friday by holding the Hornets to 28.6 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. Three nights earlier, they broke open a tight game in Miami by holding the Heat to 17.6 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. Two nights before that, the Warriors held the Thunder to 33.3 percent shooting in the final quarter in Oklahoma City.
"Our guys compete, and they defend," coach Steve Kerr said. "If you do that, and you take care of the ball, you always have chance."
Defense will be key against Detroit (3-13), which can't seem to generate consistent offense. The Pistons rank 29th in field goal percentage (41.5) and 28th in scoring, averaging 91.9 points per game.
Van Gundy, who interviewed with the Warriors for their coaching vacancy, chose the Detroit job because it came with personnel authority. It's early, of course, but it's exceedingly ugly.
Meanwhile, Kerr, the only other person to complete the interview process with the Warriors, can't seem to get through a postgame press conference without giggling.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Andrew Bogut vs. Andre Drummond. Though Bogut also will spend time defending Greg Monroe, it's Drummond who likes to take ownership of the paint. He's skilled and he's relentless on the glass. He'll also have to drag himself away from the basket to defend Bogut near the top of the key.
Draymond Green vs. Greg Monroe. Only 6-foot-7, Green embraces physical mismatches. Monroe, at 6-11, is one of the smoother scoring big men in the league. It’s a daunting challenge, and Green can't do it alone. This is that rare game in which Festus Ezeli (or Marreese Speights) and Bogut could play alongside each other.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Stay in overdrive. The Pistons' massive frontline is best offset if the Warriors can maintain a fast pace.
2) Silence the whistles. The Warriors will need to keep their big men, particularly Bogut, out of foul trouble.
3) One and done. The Warriors are prone to giving up offensive rebounds that often lead to second-and third-chance baskets.
Warriors – G Leandro Barbosa (sprained right knee) is listed as questionable. F David Lee (strained left hamstring) is listed as out.
Pistons – G Brandon Jennings (sprained left thumb) is listed as questionable. G Jodie Meeks (stress reaction, lower back) is listed as out.
The Warriors last season swept the Pistons (2-0) and have won the last six meetings, holding Detroit to fewer than 100 points in each game. The Warriors are seeking a seventh straight win over Detroit for the first time since a seven-game win streak through 1976.