The surging Detroit Pistons hope to ride their defense to a season-high sixth straight victory Wednesday night when they visit the New Jersey Nets.
Detroit (20-7) won for the 12th time in 14 games with a 94-82 victory over Houston on Sunday. The Pistons limited the Rockets to 40.3 percent from the field, and held their sixth straight opponent to 87 points or fewer.
"Our defense is getting to be extremely solid," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We turned it up in the third quarter. We've been doing that a lot lately."
Detroit is limiting opponents to 89.7 points per game, and joins Boston as the only teams in the NBA allowing an average under 90. The Pistons have held the opposition below 50 percent from the floor in 12 straight games.
They are 9-5 on the road, including 5-1 against Eastern Conference foes. Detroit's last road game was an 87-85 win at Boston last Wednesday, handing the league-best Celtics their first home loss of the season.
"We have a good quality team that is going to be ticked off that they had to travel Christmas Day," Nets forward Richard Jefferson said of the Pistons. "They just knocked off Boston. That's a game for us that could gain us so much momentum."
How Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd fare in their matchup at point guard could be a key factor Wednesday. Detroit went 4-0 against New Jersey last season, with Billups averaging 20.8 points and 9.0 assists to Kidd's averages of 12.8 points and 6.5 assists.
The teams have met once this season and Billups didn't outplay Kidd that dramatically, but Detroit was still impressive in a 118-95 home win over New Jersey on Dec. 2. Billups had 18 points and nine assists while Kidd scored only six points, but had a season-high 16 assists.
"We aren't as good as Detroit," Kidd said after the game. "We were playing against a very good team, and we didn't have any answers. It seemed like they made every shot, or if they didn't, they got the offensive rebounds and put that in."
New Jersey (12-15) is trying to match a season high with its third straight victory. The Nets haven't played since a 100-95 win over Golden State on Saturday.
Kidd notched his league-leading seventh triple-double - and 94th of his career - with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Jefferson scored a game-high 31 points and Vince Carter added 23 points and 12 boards.
"With the way things were going for us, we've proven that we can't let the pressure get to us," Carter said. "Now that we got two wins, we have to keep pushing and moving forward."
New Jersey also got 19 points and 13 rebounds from second-year center Josh Boone in his third straight start in place of the demoted Jason Collins. Boone has a total of 60 points in his last five games while Collins has 31 for the season.
"My teammates trust me and that helps my intensity level," said Boone, one of the worst foul shooters in the NBA at 28.6 percent. "I'm trying not to be too hard on myself."
The Nets' 6-10 home record is second-worst in the East, ahead of only Miami (4-9).
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