Pistons at Nets Game Preview - Feb. 1, 2012
A visit from the lowly Detroit Pistons is coming at the perfect time for the New Jersey Nets.
Coming off consecutive defeats, the Nets try for a fourth straight home win over a Pistons team looking to avoid a season-high seventh loss in a row in the finale of back-to-back-to-back games Wednesday night.
New Jersey (7-15) had won four of six before falling 94-73 at home to Toronto on Sunday, and lost 106-99 at Indiana on Tuesday. Deron Williams had 34 points with seven assists and Anthony Morrow scored 28, but the short-handed Nets succumbed to a 12-0 third-quarter Pacers' run that changed the game.
The Nets also committed 19 turnovers Indiana converted into 30 points.
"Our team got down 12 or 14 points, but we kept battling and then we got within striking distance," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Unfortunately, the ball just popped out on us."
New Jersey remained competitive despite playing without injured contributors MarShon Brooks (toe), Mehmet Okur (back) and DeShawn Stevenson (knee). Of the trio, only Stevenson appears available to play Wednesday.
Williams, meanwhile, has averaged 29.8 points in the last four games. He's totaled 40 points and 22 assists in his last two versus Detroit.
Regardless of who is in the Nets' lineup, it's likely they still have a good chance to bounce back against the Pistons (4-19). Detroit, which last dropped seven in a row during an 11-game skid March 13-April 3, 2010, has averaged just 81.8 points while going 1-11 on the road. The Pistons have dropped five of six at New Jersey.
Without Ben Gordon (shoulder), Will Bynum (foot) and Charlie Villanueva (ankle), the Pistons allowed New York to shoot 60 percent (42 of 70), including 9 of 18 from 3-point range, in Tuesday's 113-86 loss at Madison Square Garden.
"We just didn't give ourselves a chance," said forward Tayshaun Prince, who had 10 points. "When you're losing games and playing the way we're playing, the one thing you want to do is give yourself a chance to win."
The Pistons have struggled mightily on the defensive end during their six-game skid, giving up 103.0 points per contest while opponents have shot 52.2 percent overall and 50 of 97 (51.5 percent) from beyond the arc.
"We're not even putting ourselves in a position where these games are in doubt," said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, who returns to New Jersey where he coached the Nets from 2004 until he was fired after an 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season. "We're all embarrassed that we're not doing better. We all have to raise our hands and figure out ways we can improve."
Second-year center Greg Monroe has been one of the few bright spots for the Pistons, averaging 17.4 points and 10.6 rebounds over the last five games. Though Monroe scored 20 points each in Detroit's two home victories over the Nets last season, he was held to five in an 89-74 loss at New Jersey on Jan. 21, 2011.