Brooklyn sizzles from 3, avoids season sweep despite Drummond’s big game
NEW YORK – First time the Pistons saw Mirza Teletovic, he took three 3-pointers in the span of just a few minutes and missed the rim – and everything else – on all three. That was last season. He’s come a long way since then. Teletovic didn’t touch the rim much Friday night, either, but only because his shots were so pure they barely made the net flutter.
The 6-foot-9 Bosnian changed the game when he started launching triples. The Pistons led 22-16 late in the first quarter, but over a span of 8:34 the Nets would outscore them 35-9. They hit their first seven 3-point shots of the second quarter in that stretch and were 9 of 14 from the arc when they’d stretched their lead to 51-31. Teletovic led the charge, hitting 4 of 5 triples in the first half.
“That’s what he does,” John Loyer said after Teletovic scored 20 points in 23 minutes off of Brooklyn’s bench, hitting 6 of 10 threes, a line dragged down by misses of his last two attempts. “He’s a terrific shooter. He’s made shots against us. He’s made shots against a lot of teams.”
But Loyer wasn’t willing to shrug his shoulders and chalk it up to a great shooter having a hot night. The Pistons, he felt, were complicit in their own demise.
"It felt really good, to get out there and play."
- Peyton Siva on getting in the game
Full game quotes
“When you’ve got somebody who can spread the floor, you’ve got to make him dribble it,” he said. “You’ve got to take them out of their comfort zone and we didn’t do a good enough job making them dribble it or taking them out of something they don’t do well. They shot 60 percent. You’re not going to win an NBA game when the team shoots 60 percent.”
On the other end, the Nets – who had lost all three previous games with the Pistons this season, and convincingly, but have now won 15 straight home games – did a marvelous job of taking away what the Pistons wanted to do. Namely, that starts with feeding Greg Monroe in the post. Monroe came into the game averaging about 17 points and 10 rebounds this season against the Nets and shooting nearly 60 percent. He got to halftime with two points on only three shots and didn’t play in the fourth quarter after shooting 2 of 8 in the third.
“On the catch, they came and got it out of his hands,” Loyer said. “That kind of takes away your aggressiveness early. They were going to try to get it out of his hands and make somebody else beat them. I thought what it did, it forced us – we shot (16) threes in the first half. That’s not us. We’re last in the league in 3-point shooting. When you move the ball, you’ve got to make one more pass or look to drive it. You kind of play into their hands when you shoot that many threes.”
The Pistons got the deficit back to a more manageable 12 by halftime, then saw it swell again to 21 early in the fourth quarter. But a largely backup unit consisting of Jonas Jerebko, Peyton Siva and Rodney Stuckey together with starters Kyle Singler and Andre Drummond went on a 12-0 run to pull the Pistons within nine points with seven minutes to play before the Nets settled for a 116-104 win.
With the playoff race all but officially over – the Pistons would have been eliminated Friday night if the Knicks, who lost to Washington by one point, had won – the game probably will be best remembered for the extended run Siva was granted. Will Bynum didn’t dress, dealing with a sore left foot, and Siva wound up playing 21 minutes. His numbers were modest – two points, three assists – but he looked comfortable, especially in the second half after knocking off a few months worth of rust. Significantly, Siva didn’t commit a single turnover.
“I definitely felt comfortable,” Siva said. “I just wanted to go out there and play hard, just bring some energy and try to bring everybody’s spirits up. We did a good job of coming back and not getting beat by 20 or 30. We tried to make it a game. They just knocked down shots today.”
“I told that last five, I appreciate them,” Loyer said. “I appreciate a Peyton Siva – hasn’t hardly played all year, stayed ready, went in there and did a nice job. We had some guys step up. I couldn’t take that group out. That group competed. That group fought to the bitter end.”
Drummond flirted with his second career 20-20 game, coming up two rebounds short to go with 23 points, logging 42 minutes. He and Siva showed a nice connection, Siva feeding him for a layup and then a lob dunk within the span of three possessions during the 12-0 run – though Jerebko, inexplicably, was credited with the assist.
Jerebko didn’t need much help padding his own impressive stat line. He continued his strong play under Loyer, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal.
“We’ve got to do it for 48 minutes now,” said Stuckey, who also scored in double figures (13) off the bench. “That’s pretty much been the story for the whole year, just coming out and competing for 48 minutes. When the last group was in there, we fought. We were sharing the ball.”