Pistons vs. Nets Game Preview - Mar. 18, 2013

Regular Season Game #69

The Brooklyn Nets failed to capitalize on a chance to gain a share of the Atlantic Division lead.

They may have another opportunity Monday night.

The Nets look to pull even atop the division as they open a franchise record-tying eight-game road trip against the Detroit Pistons, who are on the cusp of their longest home losing streak in over 12 years.

Brooklyn (38-28) is one game behind Atlantic-leading New York with 16 games to play in the regular season. The team wasted a chance to tie the race Sunday, falling 105-93 to Atlanta after the Knicks lost 93-80 to the Los Angeles Clippers. "The positive thing about it is just knowing that it's the NBA, you've got so many games, so you go win the next one, then you forget all about this one, you know?" said Reggie Evans, who had a season-high 14 points and 22 rebounds. "But it makes the flight longer."

The Nets will be spending a lot of time on airplanes, as they begin a long road trip due to the circus taking over Barclays Center. They don't play at home again until April 4.

They have a chance to start that jaunt in strong fashion and forge a tie with the Knicks, who had a six-game lead in the division after beating Brooklyn on Dec. 19 but have lost four in a row.

New York plays at Utah later Monday.

It would seem the Nets are in favorable position to do their part since they've won both meetings with the Pistons (23-45), but those victories are by a combined five points.

Brooklyn took the latest visit to Detroit 93-90 on Feb. 6 despite shooting 41.5 percent from the floor.

Deron Williams had 12 points, nine assists and two blocks while turning the ball over six times in that meeting. Despite that performance, he averages 20.8 points on 53.0 percent shooting over his last six visits to The Palace.

Brook Lopez also thrives on the road against the Pistons, averaging 21.8 points. Scoring may not be a problem for the Nets since the Pistons are surrendering an average of 106.5 points during an eight-game slide. They haven't endured a longer one since dropping 11 straight from March 13-April 3, 2010.

Detroit hasn't been much better at home, losing five in a row there. A loss to the Nets would leave the Pistons with their first six-game home skid since an 0-8 slide from Dec. 20, 2000-Feb. 2, 2001.

It's unclear if coach Lawrence Frank or guard Brandon Knight will be back to help. Frank has missed six games to be with his ill wife in New Jersey, while Knight has sat out two because of a sprained left ankle.

Detroit fell again under interim coach Brian Hill on Saturday, losing 112-101 to Portland to conclude a four-game Western Conference road trip.

Rodney Stuckey is certainly doing more than just replace Knight's 13.8 points per game. The guard had a season-high 32 points against the Trail Blazers after getting 22 in a 105-97 loss at Golden State three days earlier.

"I've been given the opportunity to do this the last couple of games, and it's been working," said Stuckey, who mustered only four points against Brooklyn last month.

Greg Monroe, who had 14 points Saturday, is averaging 19.9 over his last seven meetings with the Nets, totaling 40 against them this season.