Preview: Nets at Pistons
By Cory Wright
Brooklyn Nets (16-58) at Detroit Pistons (34-41)
7:30 p.m., The Palace of Auburn Hills
TV: YES Network
The Brooklyn Nets look to end the best month of their season on a high note Thursday.
Regardless of how they fare in their last visit to the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Nets’ seven wins in March mark their best month of the season. A win would improve that record to 8-9.
“I keep saying how important it is for us to finish the season well and on a positive note for our organization, for our fans and for our players,” Coach Kenny Atkinson said on Tuesday. “There is a confidence, there’s some momentum going into this offseason that’s important for us.”
The Nets are looking to bounce back on Thursday, admittedly not playing with enough “juice” in a 106-101 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
“I just felt like we relaxed a little bit after we won three of four, and it’s a valuable lesson for us to be able to learn that this league is tough on any given night,” Jeremy Lin said after Tuesday’s loss. “I’ll be the first person to say that I didn’t play nearly close to what I’m capable of so I have to live with that tonight and just get better for the next one.”
The Pistons may be the perfect team for the Nets to bounce back against, as the Nets go for the season series sweep over the Pistons – potentially sweeping Detroit for the first time since 2012-13.
The Nets are 2-0 against the Pistons this season, including a 98-96 win on March 21. That contest is remembered for Brook Lopez’s dramatic game-winning buzzer beater and was the start of a five-game losing streak for Detroit.
Detroit enters Thursday three games back of the Indiana Pacers for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, but has to leapfrog the Chicago Bulls to get there. Time is working against the Pistons as well, as they are down to their final seven games. The Pistons are 2-8 in their last 10 games overall. With their playoff hopes fading, the Nets can deliver another dagger on Thursday night.
Brook Lopez is closing in on becoming the Nets’ all-time leading scorer. Lopez (10,310 career points) needs 131 points to pass Buck Williams (10,440) as the franchise’s top scorer and the milestone is within reach. Lopez needs to average 16.1 points-per-game down the stretch to hit that mark and the big man is averaging 20.7 ppg this season. Lopez has only dipped below 16 points once in his last 10 games.
NETS AT THE PALACE:
Thursday marks the Nets’ final game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Pistons’ home since the 1988-89 season. The Nets won’t be sad to see the Palace go, posting an 8-43 regular season record there (though it’s improved since the team moved to Brooklyn). The Nets fared better in the postseason, going 3-3 in playoff action at the Palace.