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Pistons dump Warriors in Curry’s return to action; Celtics defeat T-Wolves

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Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots against Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) and guard Reggie Jackson (1) during the fourth quarter at Little Caesars Arena. -- RAJ MEHTA-USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES — Andre Drummond tipped in Detroit misses on consecutive possessions in the third quarter Saturday night to stall a Golden State Warriors comeback, and the host Pistons eased away in the fourth period for a 111-102 victory over the two-time defending champions in Stephen Curry’s return to action.

The former two-time NBA Most Valuable Player had 27 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 37 minutes after having missed 11 consecutive games with a strained groin. He shot 10-for-21 from the field, including three-for-nine on 3-pointers, and committed seven turnovers.

Blake Griffin led Detroit with 26 points, while Drummond gathered a game-high 19 rebounds to go with 16 points.

The Pistons led 54-46 at halftime and by as many as 14 in the third period before the Warriors rallied within 78-76 on a 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala with 2:06 left in the period.

But Drummond, who had eight offensive rebounds in the game, dropped in a pair of follow shots and Stanley Johnson bombed in a 3-pointer as the Pistons closed the period with a 7-2 burst to re-establish command at 85-78.

The Warriors were unable to make much headway in the final period, thanks in large part to 6-for-26 shooting from 3-point range.

Johnson finished with 19 points, Reggie Jackson 17, Ish Smith 11 and Reggie Bullock 10 in a balanced attack for Detroit, which won its fifth straight and second in two nights. The Pistons beat Chicago 107-88 at home on Friday night.

Johnson and Smith were part of a bench crew that outscored their Golden State counterparts 42-13.

Kevin Durant had 28 points and a team-high seven assists, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points with a team-high eight rebounds for the Warriors, who lost their sixth straight on the road, their longest road losing streak since February 2013.

Coming off a 51-point explosion in a 131-128 overtime loss at Toronto on Thursday, Durant shot just one-for-seven on 3-pointers, while Thompson went just 1-for-5.

The Pistons outscored the Warriors 36-18 on 3-pointers in the win.

CELTICS BEAT T-WOLVES
Gordon Hayward enjoyed his best game of the season, scoring 30 points while also adding nine rebounds and eight assists to lead the visiting Boston Celtics to a 118-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

The Celtics extended their modest win streak to three games, getting the last two on consecutive nights. The T-Wolves saw their season-best win streak snapped at four games.

In the first quarter, the Celtics crawled back from an early seven-point deficit to lead 29-26 through the end of the opening frame on the strength of strong ball movement.

The second quarter saw the Celtics expand that lead to 57-48 by halftime, built largely with nine 3-pointers to the T-Wolves’ four triples. Hayward (14 points) and Kyrie Irving (12) were already in double figures for the Celtics at the break, while Derrick Rose responded with 12 for Minnesota.

A high-scoring 3rd quarter saw the Timberwolves shave only two points from the halftime deficit. Boston relied heavily on an inside-out game between Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

Trailing 89-81 early in the final frame, the T-Wolves ripped off an 8-0 run to tie the game with less than nine minutes remaining before Boston responded with its own 9-0 run. The Celtics never looked back.

For the Celtics, in addition to Heyward they got big performances from Jayson Tatum, who scored 19 points and added nine rebounds. Irving also chipped in with 21 points and nine assists.

Jaylen Brown missed his third straight game for the Celtics because of a nagging back injury, resulting in Marcus Smart’s third start of the season.

The Timberwolves were led by Towns, who posted 20 points and nine rebounds. Robert Covington added 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals in a spirited effort for the losing side. Rose scored 26 off the bench.

Up next for Boston is a four-day gap before the Celtics visit the New York Knicks on Thursday. Minnesota’s next contest is the third game of their current 4-game home stand as they host the Houston Rockets on Monday.

LEONARD’S 34 POINTS LEAD RAPTORS PAST CAVS
Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and former Cavalier Danny Green added 15 points and seven rebounds to lead the visiting Toronto Raptors to a 106-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.

Leonard connected on 11 of 21 field-goal attempts and was a perfect nine-for-nine from the foul line and grabbed nine rebounds for the Raptors, who boast the league’s best record at 20-4 and now have won eight straight games. All five Raptors starters scored in double figures.

Cleveland, which lost by 33 points on Friday to Boston, was led by Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson, who each scored 18. Clarkson’s points came off the bench.

Thompson also had 19 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season and his sixth in the past seven games.

Neither team shot very well in the first half. The Raptors, who came into the game shooting a league-leading 49.4 percent, connected on only 18 of 46 attempts (39.1 percent). Cleveland was worse at 35.9 percent.

The difference in the first half was Leonard, who scored 17 points. — Reuters