Nets fall to Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons in their preseason home opener, 99-88

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The "new Nets" made their home debut tonight against the Detroit Pistons, and as expected Jason Kidd said he wasn't going to push his starters more than the 12 minutes they played in their first preseason game against the Wizards, leaving the reserves to do most of the heavy lifting against the new-look Pistons. Unfortunately, they couldn't hold off the Pistons who dominated down low scoring 50 points in the paint, beating the Nets, 99-88.

Most of starters played the first six minutes of each of the first two quarters -- give or take -- and that was that. Joe Johnson (9 points in 19 minutes) and Shaun Livingston (7 assists in 19 minutes), however, got some extra burn. Both guards were in as the Nets started the third quarter.

Brook Lopez once again was a beast, finishing with eight points and three rebounds. Kevin Garnett went for eight points and one rebound, while Paul Pierce finished with five  points on 1-of-2 shooting from the floor; that "one" being a three-pointer.

Brooklyn ran out the same starting lineup with Deron Williams out (day-to-day) and Shaun Livingston starting in his place. And Livingston did a fine job of running the half-court offense, as one big plus with the starting rotation was the ball movement. Each possession early on went through anywhere from four to five passes, resulting in the Nets hitting seven of their first nine shots from the floor. The ball movement was fantastic.

Kidd left the door slightly open for D-Will to miss the first regular season game, but Williams said he;s confident he'll play and continued to say it's all precautionary.  Williams went through a series of shooting drills with assistant coach John Welch for about 25 minutes prior to Saturday night’s game, and he didn’t appear to be favoring his ankle during the workout.

Another thing that stood out was that even as this was "just a preseason game," the Nets bench stood and clapped for every score, getting into the game from the opening tip. There continues to be signs of cohesion and energy from this Nets team.

Andray Blatche was again led the second-unit offense, scoring a team-high 15 points in 20 minutes. Kirilenko was active, as usual, on defense recording three blocks and four steals in 20 minutes. Alan Anderson scored eight points and Reggie Evans pulled in five rebounds off the bench in 14 minutes.

One concern, however, was the number of turnovers in this one. They turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and 21 times for the game. This after they had 24 turnovers against the Wizards. Yes, it's "only" the preseason, but some sloppy play at times.

Interior defense was another concern, as the Pistons finished with 50 points in the paint. Granted, they have a large front-court unit with Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith, but the Nets need to do a better job at defending the rim. Drummond was beastly with 15 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes, while Monroe added 12 points in and six boards in 26 minutes.

"Well I’m not really worried about offense," Pierce said after the game. "We want to become a defensive team, and when you give up those points in the paint, dunks, yeah we definitely took a step back."

"Well I’m not really worried about offense," Pierce said after the Nets’ first preseason defeat. "We want to become a defensive team, and when you give up those points in the paint, dunks, yeah we definitely took a step back."
Read more at http://www.hoopsworld.com/nets-take-a-step-back#2CmPhpk2wfZVi8ia.99

Free-throw shooting was atrocious, as well. The Nets went 30-of-53 from the line. It doesn't get much worse than that.

All in all, it was what it was -- a preseason game -- as the starters rested and the Nets lost. Still, there are no major injuries to report -- outside of Deron Williams, which is neither major or anything new -- though Tyshawn Taylor did not play in the second half and left the game in a walking boot, saying he had sprained his ankle "pretty bad." If he can't play Monday, the Nets would be limited to Livingston, Marko Jaric, who looked slow and out of it, and possibly Jorge Gutierrez, who sustained his own ankle injury vs. the Wizards.

For more on the Pistons, see: Detroit Bad Boys

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