Preview: Nets aim for consecutive victories in clash vs. Pistons

The Nets (17-29) hope for a bit of revenge when they face the Pistons (22-22) in a Sunday afternoon clash at Little Caesars Arena.

Detroit thrashed Brooklyn in the first matchup between the two sides, winning 114-80 at the Barclays Center on Jan. 10. However, Stan Van Gundy’s team has yet to win a game since that result and is currently on a four-game losing streak. The Pistons’ streakiness has been problematic all season as they win and lose in stretches. Their current skid has seen the team slide to ninth in the East.

The Nets come off of a much-needed win against the Heat in the finale of their three-game homestand. D’Angelo Russell’s return after 33 games out appeared to re-energize the recently-struggling team and Kenny Atkinson will hope to see his team build on Friday’s victory.

Here’s What to Watch For:

Key Matchup: Tobias Harris vs. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Andre Drummond might have sparked the Pistons win over the Nets earlier in the month, but Harris is the reason why the team dominated. Drummond led Detroit with 22 points, 20 rebounds and five assists while Harris added another 22 points on 10-for-14.

The Nets have struggled with guarding big men all season, so Drummond’s output isn’t surprising. The fact that they allowed Harris to consistently attack the rim was concerning in the first game. Hollis-Jefferson had 15 points and seven rebounds in the last game and his teammates have to contain Harris and minimize the threat of Drummond in order to snap a four-game road losing streak against the Pistons.

Will D’Angelo Russell’s Minutes Increase?

Despite showing some rust, Russell showed glimpses of his ability in a few possessions. His no-look lob assist to Hollis-Jefferson made Barclays Center explode on Friday night. Even though he went 0-for-5, he had some good looks at the basket as well.

As with all of his players, Atkinson has a merit-based rotation. Players will get more minutes if they’ve earned it. That means Nets fans could expect a similar amount of playing time from Russell on Sunday as he continues to work his way back to his best.

Can DeMarre Carroll Continue His Recent Tear?

Interestingly enough, Carroll was sidelined with injury when the Nets lost to the Pistons on Jan. 10. He could make a substantial difference in the second game of the season between these two teams.

In the last five games, Carroll is averaging 17.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals on 52 percent shooting. He credited rest from his two games out in January as the reason why he’s back to his best. If his play carries on to Sunday, it could be one of the reasons why the Nets will have won consecutive games for the second time in January.