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Warriors' Barnes sparks rally in win over Pistons

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND. Calif. -- As the Detroit Pistons hung tight with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, Mark Jackson wasn't overly concerned. The coach had a feeling he had a matchup that could prove to be a difference-maker in the end.

No offense, Kyle Singler. This was just one of those Tobacco Road things.

"I wish we could play against a Duke guy every night," Jackson said with a smirk after watching former North Carolina standout Harrison Barnes fly by Singler, his former collegiate rival at Duke, for three high-flying dunks in the opening seven minutes of the third quarter. They electrified a sellout crowd and propelled Golden State to a 105-97 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

"You always have that in the back of your mind," Barnes said of the matchup with Singler, his counterpart at small forward. "It's always good to beat someone from the other side of town."

After seeing the Pistons (23-44) erase all of a 12-point deficit en route to a 50-50 halftime tie, the Warriors rebuilt the advantage to a dozen in the third period. This time, they held on en route to their second consecutive win and a season-series sweep of their Eastern Division rival.

All three of Barnes' dunks came during the pull-away. He first converted a David Lee lob into an alley-oop throw-down, then later turned Lee and Klay Thompson feeds from the perimeter into driving slams, each one amping up the building's volume a notch.

"We haven't been playing that well at home," said Barnes, who had eight of his 13 points in the third period. "We needed to take care of business tonight."

The win allowed the Warriors (37-29) to remain 1 1/2 games up on Houston in the battle for the sixth playoff position in the Western Conference, while also pushing them three up on the Los Angeles Lakers and 3 1/2 games clear of Utah, the latter two having lost Wednesday.

And, yes, the Warriors did notice.

"This was a big win, especially with a couple of teams around us losing," said Lee, who recorded his league-best 24th 20/10 game of the season with 20 points and 15 rebounds. "We were all watching the Utah game, the Laker game, the Houston game.

"Everyone here is excited right now. We can say we only care about our game, but that would be lying."

The Pistons, who played for the fifth consecutive game without coach Lawrence Frank, fell for the seventh consecutive time and third straight to start a four-game trip. Getting double-figure scoring from Will Bynum (16) and Jonas Jerebko (11) off the bench, they made the Warriors sweat a bit.

Detroit managed to close within three early in the fourth period, bridging the third and fourth quarters with a 9-0 run. The Warriors contributed four turnovers to that temporary reversal, including a pair by Stephen Curry in the final seconds of the third quarter that drew the ire of Jackson.

With the Warriors looking to add to a nine-point lead in the final half-minute of the third, Curry threw a lazy left-handed pass right to the Pistons' Bynum, who fed Rodney Stuckey downcourt. Stuckey was fouled and hit two free throws with 7.1 seconds left in the period to make it an 80-73 game.

Looking to make up for his mistake, Curry then tried to race the ball upcourt for one final shot, but he got bumped in a double-team and lost it to Bynum one more time. Bynum again fed Stuckey for an apparent hoop that would have closed the gap to five, but a between-periods video review by the referees deemed the basket came just after the horn.

In the meantime, Curry went searching for a referee to complain about not getting a foul call, and he unceremoniously received a two-hand shove in the back toward the bench by Jackson, who in turn vented his frustration on the officials.

"I was upset because I understand what it takes to win in this league," Jackson said. "It's not easy, no matter who you're facing. I wanted to put them away when we could and not give them life."

And the shove?

"I was impersonating the defense," he said, downplaying the incident.

When Curry committed a third consecutive turnover to start the fourth period and Golden State's Carl Landry got stripped by the Detroit defense, the Pistons managed to get within 80-77, prompting a Jackson timeout.

"He didn't have to say anything," Curry said of the coach's message. "We had a lack of focus at the end of the third quarter, and it carried over to the fourth."

Jackson summoned center Andrew Bogut from the bench. The move paid immediate dividends, as the veteran big man responded with assists on hoops by Thompson and Lee that righted the ship and sent Golden State to its fourth win in six games on its current seven-game homestand.

"There is nothing like having guys that have been around that understand what it takes to win and read different actions," Jackson said of Bogut, who played a season-high 32 minutes. "His experience makes a difference."

Another veteran, Jarrett Jack, added three key hoops down the stretch as the Warriors were able to keep the Pistons at arm's length.

Curry led the Warriors with 31 points. He hit five 3-pointers, including his 200th of the season, a first in franchise history.

Jack finished with 19 points and Barnes 13. Bogut's well-rounded numbers featured seven points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals.

Stuckey led a balanced Pistons attack with 22. Singler chipped in with 17, and Jason Maxiell, returning from a one-game absence, had a season-high 14 rebounds to go with eight points.

"We had a lot of shots go in-and-out tonight," said Bynum, whose team was outshot 56.9 percent to 44.9. "I thought in the second half, we were better and played with the right energy. If we're able to keep building off that, then we'll be fine."

Greg Monroe, the Pistons' leading scorer for the season and a 48.5-percent shooter, blamed himself for the defeat after a 4-for-16 effort.

"It's not like I'm shooting a lot of jump shots or chucking up 3's. I have to do a better job than that," said Monroe, who finished with 13 points. "If we missed 27 shots in the paint, then half of those misses were on me. That's unacceptable on my part." NOTES: The Pistons' Frank did not accompany the team on its weeklong, four-game Western swing as he tends to his ill wife, Susan, in New Jersey. Asked before the game if he expected Frank to return to the team upon the Pistons' return after visiting Portland on Saturday, interim coach Brian Hill was noncommittal. "He's day-to-day," Hill said. ... The Pistons (0-13) remained winless against Western Conference competition on the road this season. ... The Pistons gained one and lost one in terms of starters Wednesday. Maxiell, who sprained his right ankle in the trip opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday and missed Monday's loss at Utah, returned to the starting lineup. Meanwhile, guard Brandon Knight sat out, a result of a sprained left ankle suffered 3 1/2 minutes into the Jazz game. ... The Warriors played their 66th game Wednesday. Their 37 wins are 14 more than they posted all of last season. ... Curry's previous career-high for 3-pointers was 166, set in his rookie season in 2009-10. He surpassed Dorell Wright's franchise record of 194 in Monday's win over the New York Knicks. ... Basketball isn't the only thing that's important in the life of the Warriors' Jackson. A pastor in the True Love Worship Center in Van Nuys, Calif., Jackson applauded the announcement that Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be the new pope of the Roman Catholic Church. "It's a great day," Jackson said. "Job well done."
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