Pistons vs Nets Game Preview - Apr. 6, 2011
It's probably a good thing the New Jersey Nets ended their six-game slide before Wednesday night's trip to Detroit. That's especially the case if Deron Williams doesn't play.
The Nets have lost their last eight games at The Palace of Auburn Hills and could be without Williams while the Pistons will be seeking to end their four-game slide.
Williams helped New Jersey (24-53) end its skid as he tied a career high with 21 assists and made a tiebreaking jumper with 1.7 seconds to play in Tuesday's 107-105 victory over Minnesota.
The point guard finished with 18 points and indicated afterward that he could skip the season's final five games. He's battled a wrist injury since January and plans to see a hand and wrist specialist Wednesday.
"There's a possibility this is the last one," Williams said.
The Nets are 4-8 with Williams since he was acquired from Utah on Feb. 23. They are 3-5 without him since the trade.
"I think the difference is very obvious between when he plays and when he doesn't," center Brook Lopez said. "I'm not that much of a believer in numbers but there is no arguing against those numbers tonight."
Lopez had solid numbers as well with 30 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double in nine games. Sasha Vujacic added 17 points and 10 assists.
Williams' loss would add to a growing list of absent players for New Jersey. Power forward Kris Humphries has missed three straight games with ankle and heel problems while small forward Anthony Morrow, the team's third-leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, sat out Tuesday because of tendinitis in his left knee.
The Nets will bring a 5-33 road mark to Auburn Hills, where they have not won since March 26, 2006. New Jersey won the Atlantic Division that season while Detroit (26-51) finished with an NBA-high 64 victories.
Those days are far away for both franchises, and the Pistons are enduring back-to-back 50-loss seasons for the first time since 1993-94 and 1994-95.
Detroit's fourth straight loss was a frustrating one, 107-105 at Washington on Tuesday. Greg Monroe finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds, but missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 10 seconds to play.
"It's just my bad," said Monroe, a 60.4 percent foul shooter. "I have to have the mental toughness to knock those down. It's nobody's fault but mine."
The rookie was a major factor the last time these teams met with 20 points and 11 boards in a 92-82 home win Feb. 4. The Nets won the first two meetings at home.
Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey, who has run afoul of coach John Kuester for unspecified reasons, was benched for the second straight game Tuesday. It's unclear if Stuckey, averaging a team-high 14.7 points, will be available Wednesday.