By Patrick Sung, CNN
(CNN) — The Golden State Warriors got back on the winning track Friday, edging out the lowly Detroit Pistons 113-109, but suffered a big personnel loss as guard Chris Paul fractured his left hand in the third quarter.
Paul missed a three-pointer with 6:10 left in the third and attempted to get the rebound, but caught his hand on Jaden Ivey’s chest and could immediately be seen to be in pain.
The 12-time All-Star continued on for less than a minute and could be seen fiddling with his hand during stoppages in play, finally checking out of the contest with 5:39 left to play in the quarter. Video showed Paul – who had eight points, six rebounds and four assists when he left the game – holding his hand gingerly as he walked in the tunnel to the locker room.
The loss exacerbates a personnel shortage for the 2022 champions, who are already missing starting forward Draymond Green indefinitely through a league suspension issued for a wild swing on Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić.
After the game, the Warriors said Paul would undergo surgery next week and head coach Steve Kerr told the media that the sight of the guard holding his hand following the missed shot made him “worried.”
“It’s tough. I feel so bad for Chris. He’s had a couple of hand surgeries before I believe. I think it was on the other hand, but yeah, I saw him holding it and instantly was worried,” Kerr said. “So just got the word after walking off the floor, so I feel terrible for Chris and, obviously, guys will step up and be ready to play and we gotta hold down the fort without him.
“Chris is an all-time great and he fit right into our team and made life so much easier, not only on Steph, but he’s really kind of captained that second unit which has been a real strong suit this year for us, so we’re gonna miss him in both lineups.”
Golden State superstar Steph Curry echoed Kerr’s sentiments: “I just feel bad for him, I know he went through some hand stuff in his career and we’re trying to find a groove as a team.
“I don’t know how long he’ll be out, but I just feel for him personally because he does such an amazing job of taking care of his body, preparing himself, day in, day out … a freak play like that to sideline him is tough, so we’ll worry about the stuff with the team as it comes, but for him personally, I just hope he keeps his spirits up and can get through this as quick as possible.”
The loss of Paul made the Warriors’ victory over the Pistons the very definition of pyrrhic, though after their dramatic loss to the Denver Nuggets on a last-second, near-halfcourt heave from two-time MVP Nikola Jokic on Thursday, Golden State will take anything it can get following a rough patch of results both on and off the court.
Despite losing four out of its last five, the game seemed harder than it should have for Golden State, given Detroit’s status as the worst team in the league; the Warriors could not shake the Pistons and were only up 50-46 at halftime.
Golden State pushed the lead to 11 when Dario Šarić hit a triple with 7:13 left in the game, but the Pistons fought back and took a one-point lead after Bojan Bogdanović’s three-pointer with 1:41 remaining.
But Curry refused to let the Warriors lose another game at home though, scoring 11 of his 26 points in the final 92 seconds of the contest to give Golden State the much-needed win.
“I’m really proud of the guys. It was a tough grind, first of all, Detroit has played well the last couple weeks, you know,” Kerr said postgame. “They’re playing way better than they were a couple weeks ago and with the back-to-back coming off that brutal loss last night – that was emotionally draining – so this was a tough game and I’m proud of the guys for grinding it out.”
The Warriors move to 17-18 on the year and 10th in the West, while the Pistons fall to 3-32 on the year.
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