AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Warriors center Andris Biedrins is determined to wait until he's 100 percent healthy before he terms, so as not to deal with this injury again. That commitment is even tougher as he watches his teammates exhaust themselves only to lose. Again.
Assistant coach Keith Smart, acting as head coach in place of ill head coach Don Nelson, said he couldn't ask for any more from his players after Saturday's 104-95 loss to the host Detroit Pistons. They are doing all they can, he said, they are just short on players, especially sizeable ones.
And that fact is burning Biedrins.
"It is hard. It is hard," Biedrins said after the loss, which he watched from the bench thanks to osteitis pubis (a strain of the muscles connecting the quadriceps and abdomen). "Because I know I could help them and make the game so much easier for all them on the floor."
Golden State has dropped six of its last seven games. In four of those losses, all by single digits, the Warriors either led or trailed by a basket in the fourth quarter. Certainly, guard Monta Ellis can't do much more (and not be regarded as human, anyway).
He had one of his most efficient games of the season Saturday: 29 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals, one turnover in 48 minutes. He also chased around Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey, who had 29 points on 10-for-18 shooting with seven assists and seven turnovers.
Ellis got a little help from forward Corey Maggette, who had 23 points and four rebounds, and rookie guard Stephen Curry, who had 19 points and four assists in 38 minutes. But that was enough to keep the Warriors in the game.
Getting over the hump — on the road, on the second night of a back-to-back — is another story. That is obviously going to take more.
"You can't ask them anything else," Smart said. "They are giving you everything they possibly can. They're coming into difficult places to play with limited numbers."
The most notable lapse, again, came in the third quarter. Actually, it was the third quarter.
After squandering a 13-point second quarter lead, the Warriors closed the first half with an 8-2 run to take a 55-49 lead into intermission. Maggette scored all eight points, four at the free throw line.
But instead of building on the lead, the Warriors crumbled and were outscored 22-12 in the third quarter. They were 5-for-16 from the field in third quarter (26.3 percent) and turned the ball over five times.
Detroit's lead was up to 75-67 with 10:21 left in the fourth quarter. But a driving lay-up by Ellis at the 5:08 mark cut the Pistons lead to 85-83.
But the Warriors next two possessions ended in an Ellis turnover and a missed 3-pointer by Maggette, allowing Detroit to put together seven straight points. Moments later, Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva rebounded his own missed hook and put it back to give Detroit a 96-87 advantage. Since the Warriors had forward Vladimir Radmanovic playing center, it was easy money in crunch time for Villanueva, who had 24 points.
Biedrins, who is at the end of the fifth week in a six-week recovery plan, could do nothing but watch.
"This is so hard for them," Biedrins said. "So big a size disadvantage. Sometimes it gets really frustrating."