Programming note: Pistons-Warriors coverage tips off tonight at 7 PT on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply).
With 17 games left in the regular season, Wednesday’s game against Detroit at Oracle Arena still doesn’t qualify as a must-win for the Golden State Warriors.
At least not in the mathematical sense.
It is, however, a game that would question the team’s playoff worth should it end in a loss. Detroit (23-43) is one of six games left on the Warriors schedule against a team 20 games or worse below .500.
Before what ended up as arguably the team’s best performance of the season on Monday -- a 92-63 win against New York -- coach Mark Jackson channeled Jim Mora when asked if the final stretch would serve as a time to prepare for or simply make the playoffs.
[RECAP: Warriors 92, Knicks 63]
“Playoffs in this land? In this area? Thank you for the compliment,” he said. “Lets not forget where we are. It’s exciting to be relevant at this time. That’s the message to my guys.”
It didn’t exactly exude confidence. Preaching relevance is stark contradiction to his stance the past several weeks, even as the team lost 12 of 17 games.
“We’re not going to get caught up in what everyone else is saying,” Jackson added. “We are in a good place and now it’s about correcting what we’re doing wrong and winning ball games.”
Points off turnovers and poor defense in general contributed to the Warriors slide after climbing to 13 games above .500 on Feb. 2, but both were corrected against the Knicks. After Stephen Curry went for a NBA season-high 54 points against New York at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks returned the favor by shooting an NBA season-low 27.4 percent at Oracle.
It was the fewest points allowed by the Warriors franchise since 1953 -- 12 years before Jackson was born -- and the lowest field goal percentage for an opponent since 1975.
And it definitely served as a confidence boost.
“At the end of the day, I tell my team ‘That’s who we are’ and we are well aware of it and now let’s continue to build on it,” Jackson said. “Get used to us because we are not going anywhere. I read the notes and listen to the statements and all of that -- we are going to be here.”
So much for just being relevant.
Detroit comes into Wednesday’s game in the midst of a six-game losing streak, having won just once in its last ten games. The Pistons fell 129-97 at the Clippers on Sunday, then again the following night at Utah, 103-90.
Second-year guard Brandon Knight, who was victimized by a violent dunk from DeAndre Jordan on Sunday, left Monday’s game with a left ankle sprain after playing just four minutes. He is not expected to be able to play against Golden State.
With Knight projected out, Rodney Stuckey is the likely candidate to start in his place.
Bazemore, Thomas Contribute to D-League Win
Kent Bazemore and Malcolm Thomas, both assigned to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League on Tuesday, both started and played 30-plus minutes in Santa Cruz’s 110-103 win against Reno later in the day.
[RELATED: Warriors recall Bazemore, Thomas]
Bazemore had 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Thomas had eight points and 15 rebounds.