It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Pistons beat Warriors to win fifth straight, Raptors roll on

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By Greg Heakes

Blake Griffin scored 26 points as the Detroit Pistons spoiled the return of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry by beating the two-time defending NBA champions, 111-102, on Saturday.

Andre Drummond finished with 16 points and 19 rebounds for Detroit as the Pistons stretched their winning streak to five games.

“That’s obviously a great win,” Griffin said. “You could tell by the crowd and the atmosphere tonight that we were facing a big team, and we protected our home floor.”

Curry missed 11 games with a groin problem. He shot 10 of 21 and drained three of nine from beyond the arc to finish with 27 points. But he started out rusty, missing his first three shots, all three-point attempts.

Curry said it might take some time to get back into the flow of the Warriors offense.

“I just didn’t have the right timing, wasn’t seeing the rim that well. The second half was better and I am sure that will carry over each game,” Curry said.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Klay Thompson added 21 in the losing effort for Golden State.

The Warriors couldn’t overcome Detroit’s dominance on the offensive boards, with just eight offensive rebounds compared to 14 for Detroit.

A half dozen Pistons finished in double figures. Detroit have now won two consecutive games over Golden State — after losing 12 or their previous 13.

The Pistons built an 11-point lead in the second quarter and led 54-46 at the half.

– Best start ever –

In Cleveland, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points as Toronto overcame the absence of all-star guard Kyle Lowry and beat the struggling Cavaliers, 106-95.

“I feel great. The coaching staff has done a good job of making me feel comfortable out there,” said Leonard, who joined the Raptors this season via a trade from the San Antonio Spurs.

“It is great just to be able to play basketball again and do something that I enjoy, added Leonard, who only played nine games last season for the Spurs due to a quadriceps injury.

Lowry, who leads the NBA in assists, was a late scratch, missing his first game of the season with a back injury. The Raptors did not provide any details about his condition.

Fred VanVleet also scored 15 points for Toronto, who won their eighth consecutive contest and improved to a league best 20-4 record. They are 10-2 on the road.

The Raptors have reached the 20-win mark quicker than any other team in franchise history.

VanVleet, who started in place of Lowry, drained consecutive clutch three-pointers with just over two minutes left in the fourth to pad the Raptors lead to 10 points.

Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson each scored 18 points for Cleveland, who lost their fourth in a row and dropped to 4-18 overall.

Cleveland got George Hill back after the starting guard missed 11 games with a sprained right shoulder, but he only delivered eight points.

Elsewhere, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 28 points and rookie Kevin Knox tallied a career-high 26 as the visiting New York Knicks outlasted the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks in overtime, 136-134.

Damyean Dotson and Tim Hardaway Jr added 21 points each, and Noah Vonleh contributed 15 points for the Knicks, who snapped a two-game losing skid. (Agence France-Presse)