Pistons 122, Nets 111: Brooklyn Falls in Detroit

The Brooklyn Nets never quite recovered from Detroit’s early dominance on Tuesday night in a 122-111 loss to the Pistons.

Detroit came out with a 13-0 run, and opened up a 20-point lead in the second quarter. The Nets got as close as two points in the third quarter, but could not get even before the Pistons pulled away again. Detroit ended up shooting 56.0 percent for the game and 44.8 percent from 3-point range.

“You come to the gym, you gotta want to fight with your teammates, and make it extremely hard on the other team, make them miserable,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “And we didn't do that. We did it in stretches, proved that we can do it; but we’ve got a lot to clean up. And the number one thing is just that attitude and that competition level and that connectivity. Those are things that you can't draw up, those are things you can't practice. You just have to bring it. And I didn’t feel that for 48 minutes.”

James Harden had a double-double with 24 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored 27 points with seven assists. Jeff Green and Landry Shamet had 10 points each.

The Nets got back within nine at halftime after trailing by as many as 20 points. Detroit jumped out to a 13-3 lead after making five of its first eight shots, and led 38-26 at the end of the first quarter, then opened the second quarter with an 11-3 run for a 49-29 lead three minutes into the quarter.

Brooklyn followed with a 14-4 run, with Bruce Brown’s two free throws cutting the Detroit lead to 53-44. They played even to the half from there, with Irving and Harden each scoring 13 first-half points and the Nets shooting 51.2 percent as a group.

Trailing 74-63 in the third quarter, the Nets cut the Detroit lead to two with a 14-5 run. Brown had six points in the burst, which was capped by an Irving 3-pointer that made it 79-77 before the Pistons stretched their lead back to 94-86 going into the fourth quarter.

The Nets never got much closer the rest of the way.

“I think we just made too many errors defensively,” said Nash. “We weren't sharp enough. A part of that obviously is you dig a big enough hole and it’s; you know it's not easy to come all the way back. You're down 20 points. We get it back to a three-point game. The game ebbs and flows and you can't always get over the hump. And I think consistently making errors was the reason we couldn't get over the hump.”

After Harden opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, the Pistons scored seven straight to extend their lead to 101-89 three minutes into the quarter. The Nets closed within 101-94 on a Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot 3-pointer, but a 9-3 Detroit run pushed the lead to 113-99 with just over two minutes to go.

“My message was personal pride, connectivity and coming together,” said Nash. “Just resistance. We can’t start the game down ten, be down 20 in the second half expecting you to come easy. This is professional sports. The other team is talented, capable. And we're shorthanded, we're small; we’ve got to come out extremely sharp, extremely competitive, with a real fire. It takes us getting down 20 to find that fire.”