119   82
Game 67 · March 18, 2013 · The Palace of Auburn Hills · Auburn Hills, Mich.
Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM

By Ben Couch, BROOKLYNNETS.COM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—Monday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Nets blew out the Pistons, 119-82, behind a staggering first- and third-quarter attack led by Deron Williams, who put up 14 points in each period. He finished with a game-high 31, also dishing out five assists. Reggie Evans pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, while Brook Lopez added 17 points, seven rebounds and a block.

Earlier observations:

FOURTH QUARTER

  • 3:48 – A clean three for Mirza, and a big cheer erupts from the Bosnian group. Teletovic has connected on all four of his attempts tonight, totaling nine points and five rebounds. Just seeing the ball go in like that can be a big confidence boost.
  • 5:44 – Since it's become evident that the Nets' bench will close this one out, we can actually appreciate the ridiculous line posted by Deron Williams tonight: he rode 14-point first and third quarters to a game-high 31-point performance, on a coolly efficient 10-for-18 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three. That'll do it, most nights. Ha.
  • 9:26 – "Mir-za" clap clap "Mir-za!" Yup. Things that are happening with the Nets up 30 in Detroit. Those Bosnian fans cheer HARD.

THIRD QUARTER

  • 0:18 – Deron Williams, discussing a call with one of the referees, just got heckled pretty brilliantly by a courtside fan. Let's paraphrase by quoting the score: the Nets are, indeed, up 32.
  • 3:34 – Every time Will Bynum has hit a shot this quarter, it's felt like the Pistons have been gaining momentum. And then the scoreboard shows the Nets have actually extended their lead. It's like all the Pistons' points enter into a wormhole and appear on the wrong side of the ledger.
  • 6:55 – Deron Williams pullup J swish. That is a very pretty shot. Healthy ankles and juice cleanses suit him.
  • 10:04 – Brook Lopez, whom former Nets coach Lawrence Frank praised before the game for altering the Nets D by improving as a shot-blocker, swats a Will Bynum floater. This followed a second-chance jumper after an offensive board. He's got 16 points and seven boards, while Greg Monroe has racked up 15 and 5, respectively. Good matchup there.
  • 11:44 – The Nets first possession of the second half ends with ... free throws! Brook Lopez swishes both, and it looks like Brooklyn is ready to be in the same zone they started the game.

HALFTIME

After last night's loss against the Hawks, most all of the Nets said they expected a more focused performance against the Pistons. They got it. Brooklyn spent the first quarter attacking the rim so aggressively they racked up 10 free-throw attempts before the Pistons shot one.

Deron Williams notably tried to throw down a monster dunk midway through the first, only the second time this season he's even attempted to throw down. The team's also gotten a boost from the bench, with MarShon Brooks and Jerry Stackhouse each connecting on all three of their attempts. They combined for 14 points, and Andray Blatche chipped in another four.

The lead stands at 14, and the Nets must begin the third as locked in as they began the first to ensure the Pistons stay out of this one. These teams have previously proved their encounters can be scrappy if allowed to hang around – it's how the Nets eventually overcame a double-digit deficit in the previous matchup.

SECOND QUARTER

  • 2:12 –Deron Williams with a three. He's up to 17 points and 4 asssists in 16 minutes.
  • 3:53 – Bottoms on that jumper by Mirza Teletovic, and the crowd of Bosnian fans across from the Nets bench goes wild. They were here last time, and they are a trip. Many chants, and big cheers.
  • 4:38 – Jerry Stackhouse checks out to daps from pretty much the entire bench. Six points on 3-of-3 shooting in seven minutes will do that.
  • 7:47 –MarShon Brooks is absolutely clobbered on a three-point attempt, which – of course swishes as the whistle blows. Free throws for everyone!
  • 8:38 – Pizza boxes drop from the sky, and in one case, just a pizza. But a dude caught it, so I suppose all good?
  • 9:26 – Jerry Stackhouse pullup jumper from the right baseline like it's 2006. With Bogans out, this represents an opportunity for Stack to earn minutes.

FIRST QUARTER

  • 0:29 – WHOA! Deron just tried to dunk all over all the Pistons at once. Guess that ankle feels okay.
  • 3:49 – Rodney Stuckey draws the Pistons' first shooting foul, completing an and-one after banking his floater from the right side. The Nets free-throw advantage shrinks to 10-2.
  • 5:15 – Joe Johnson: Jab step, jab step, fake jab, 3. Kyle Singler, faced.
  • 6:42 – Gerald Wallace just threw down a transition alley-oop from Deron Williams. The Nets are creating their luck this game.
  • 8:14 – After Deron posts Calderon and again draws a shooting foul (the Pistons' fifth), Lawrence Frank asks the referee if every time the Nets shoot, it's going to be a foul. Just so he knows. For reference.
  • 9:17 – The Pistons are already double-teaming Joe Johnson. Brook ends up with a bucket and-one. This is becoming a pattern.
  • 9:50 – Deron posts Calderon on the left block, spins into a layup. If the Nets guards keep this up, and the Pistons get in foul trouble, their offensive options will be limited.
  • 10:45 – After a turnover on their first play, the Nets go to Joe, who isolates Rodney Stuckey and draws a foul on the pullup jumper. He sinks the free throws, then comes downcourt and does the same against Kyle Singler. More freebies. This could get interesting.



Brooklyn Nets (39-28)

G · Deron Williams G · Joe Johnson F · Gerald Wallace F · Reggie Evans C · Brook Lopez
NOTES
Keith Bogans (sore left ankle) is OUT.
Kris Humphries (tight lower back) is OUT.

Detroit Pistons (23-46)

G · Jose Calderon G · Rodney Stuckey F · Kyle Singler F · Jason Maxiell C · Greg Monroe
NOTES
Andre Drummond (stress fracture, fifth lumbar vertebra) is OUT.
Brandon Knight (left ankle sprain) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Head Coach Lawrence Frank (personal reasons) is NOT WITH TEAM.
Assistant Coach Brian Hill is serving as acting head coach.

By Ben Couch, BROOKLYNNETS.COM

  1. Transition
    The Nets were hoping to hold down the Hawks, whose ability to fly upcourt makes them dangerous, but couldn't maintain four quarters of defense in Sunday's loss. After allowing 22 fast-break points and committing 16 turnovers, Brooklyn has a chance to immediately enact some corrections against a struggling opponent: The Pistons have dropped eight in a row and are struggling with injuries. A win to open the long trip would go a long way toward establishing an optimistic outlook for a stretch heavy on playoff-contending opponents.

  2. Big Men, Big Deal
    Brook Lopez and Greg Monroe have matched up evenly in their five head-to-head battles since Monroe joined the Pistons out of Georgetown in 2010: 19.2 points (.567 FG%), 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks for Lopez; Monroe, 17.0 (.590), 9.8 and 1.0, respectively. Though Lopez and the Nets have won both matchups with Detroit this season, Monroe has produced the better individual line each time. If Lopez can swing the stats in his favor, it likely ensures a third victory for the Nets.

  3. Joe, Isolating the W
    Joe Johnson played an important role in each of the previous two games, neither of which was decided until the final shot. In the first, a double-overtime thriller at Barclays Center, Johnson stepped back for a tie-breaking buzzer-beater; in the second, a pair of final-minute free throws stretched the margin to three, forcing Detroit to seek a game-tying triple rather than the best available shot. If Johnson can use his size advantage to post and build on the solid shooting he flashed against Atlanta (7-16 FGs, 4-6 3Ps), the Nets should be able to generate offense at any opportunity.

Deron Williams
31 PTS, 5 AST, 2 STL
10-18 FGs, 4-8 3Ps, 7-8 FTs

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