AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- When you hear Warriors coach Mark Jackson mention Stephen Curry and the word "elite" in the same sentence, games such as Wednesday night's 104-97 victory over the Detroit Pistons are why.
Curry finished with 22 points, 10 assists, four steals and just one turnover as Golden State (11-7) kicked off its seven-game road trip with a win. It was Curry's fourth straight game with at least 20 points and 10 assists. The last Warrior to do that was Tim Hardaway in December 1992.
More important, Curry was the catalyst as the Warriors took control of the game in the second half, and he was key to Golden State warding off Detroit, which trimmed a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit down to three points.
"What I love right now is he's in total control out there on the floor," Jackson said. "When things get crazy, there is no need for me to call a timeout, because I feel confident and comfortable with his ability to run this basketball team.
"He's playing at a whole different level, probably higher than he's ever played at. I think it's more to do with his health than anything else. This is what we expected from him."
Curry is on a run unlike anything he's done in his NBA career, and Golden State is 3-1 during his streak. In the last four games, Curry has totaled 42 assists and nine turnovers to go with his 21.3 points per game. He's also averaging three steals in that span.
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In Monday's home loss to the Orlando Magic, Curry padded his stats down the stretch as the Warriors tried to put together a late rally. But Wednesday, Curry was the most impactful Warrior on both ends of the floor, and it led to a victory.
"It's a good feeling knowing you're playing well. And winning makes it even more special," said Curry, who before this streak hadn't totaled double-digit assists in consecutive games since his rookie year. "It's not like my rookie year where it was run-and-gun, Nellie ball. And we're winning, so that's big."
While his offensive prowess was evident, his defense stood out, as well. Curry took Pistons young point guard Brandon Knight completely out of the game (1-of-9 shooting, three assists, four turnovers). And Curry proved to be a pest to the Pistons' big men, who had to deal with his trapping and reaching most of the game.
"He makes multiple effort plays defensively," Jackson said, "which means he doesn't surrender even after being beat or being out of a play. ... Even plays where he has no business being involved in, he's just being very disruptive."
Even with Curry's monster game -- and a big night for Klay Thompson, who had a season-high 27 points -- Wednesday's game wound up much more of a nail-biter than it should've been.
After an eyesore of a first half, the Warriors led 40-38. But Golden State's offense got going in the third quarter. Curry set the stage with a 3-pointer followed by a three-point play. He then punctuated a 10-2 Warriors run by setting up a David Lee layup, putting Golden State ahead 50-42.
Then Thompson caught fire. He knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers. Then after a Harrison Barnes jumper, Thompson and Curry added two more 3-pointers, the latter putting the Warriors ahead 64-52 with 5:38 left in the quarter.
Thompson wound up by making five 3-pointers and totaling 19 third-quarter points. The Warriors set a season high for points in a quarter with 39 and entered the fourth ahead 79-61.
Golden State led by 81-61 after two free throws by Barnes 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Warriors were still ahead big, 94-77, after a Carl Landry jumper at the 5:36 mark. But the Pistons went on an 18-4 run to make it a challenge for the Warriors. Golden State committed four turnovers and missed two jumpers and two free throws to practically roll out the red carpet for the Pistons, who cut the Warriors' advantage to 98-95 with 1:08 left after back-to-back 3-pointers by Charlie Villanueva and Tayshaun Prince.
"We just did not do a good job of putting the final nail in the coffin," backup point guard Jarrett Jack said. "There are teams that are going to be able to come back when we let them linger around and give them confidence. So when you are able to put away a team, especially in their building, you have to end it however you can."
The Warriors held on by securing two more defensive stops and knocking down 6 of 6 from the foul line in the last minute. Fittingly, it was Curry who secured the game-clinching rebound and dribbled out the clock.
Many doubted whether Curry would ever have such a stretch. He's spent the past two seasons battling ankle issues, including missing 40 of the 66 games last season. Many questioned the Warriors' decision to sign him to a four-year, $44 million contract extension on Halloween.
Let Jackson tell it, this is what Golden State expected from Curry. His teammates didn't seem too impressed, either, said it's just a sign that Curry is finally healthy.
Curry, on the other hand, seemed appreciative.
"Being healthy and having an opportunity to play big minutes and have the ball in my hands, I'd like to think I'd be able to do good things with it," Curry said. "I'm just blessed to be able to play. This is the longest stretch I've played in two-and-a-half years."
Warriors (11-7) at Brooklyn (11-6), 4:30 p.m., CSNBA