Auburn Hills, MI— It was like a computer date gone horribly wrong.
Just when the Brooklyn Nets were starting to think well of themselves – winners of three straight – center Brook Lopez tweaked his left ankle Thursday night. The injury is not considered serious but the Nets opted to hold him out of Friday night's game against the Pistons.
It was about the worst possible date for the Nets not to have their 7-foot big man. These Pistons are starting to resemble your father's Pistons – big and strong.
Without Lopez, the Nets were busted up inside by Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in a 103-99 loss in The Palace. Lopez was on the Nets in sneakers, not a protective boot or open-toe sandal., which was a good sign
Lopez is expected to be back for Monday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Barclays Center. During the Nets (8-15) three-game win streak, Lopez averaged 24 points on 27-of-39 shooting and grabbed 17 rebounds.
Without him, the Pistons set up shot in the paint, outscoring the Nets 60-38. They also out-rebounded the Nets, 43-38.
Down by 20 early in the third quarter, the Nets cut it to 98-93 with just under three minutes to play. Andray Blatche missed two free throws with 1:38 left. Paul Pierce made a 3 with 11 seconds left to cut it to 101-99. But Kyle Singler made two free throws and time ran out on Brooklyn.
Drummond, the former UConn center, was a beast in the first half as the Pistons (11-13) took control, 61-44. He had 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He finished with 22 and 13 rebounds.
The Nets got 19 points and nine assists from Deron Williams and 20 points and 11 rebounds from Blatche. Greg Monroe, the former Georgetown power forward, had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons.
NOTES: Coach Jason Kidd once again once again brought Paul Pierce off the bench. Pierce still is wearing the protecting black glove on his right hand. He had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Nets got a nice lift off the bench from Mirza Teletovic, who had 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-6 on 3's. He had his own personal cheering section of Bosnia, flag-waving fans behind the Nets bench.
With eight rebounds against the Pistons, Kevin Garnett became the 10th player in NBA history with 14,000 rebounds. He now is just the third player in NBA history to amass 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.