Nets go for their third straight win against Detroit

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't have to be pretty. The Nets faced a shorthanded Spurs team on the second night of a back to back & won 103-89 in front of a fun Barclays Center crowd. The Nets are one game behind the Bulls for the sixth seed and three games behind Toronto for the Atlantic Division lead.

Thanks to the poor play of the Conference as a whole, the Pistons still find themselves in playoff contention. At 19-29, Detroit find themselves two games behind Charlotte for the eighth seed in the East. They're coming off a beatdown at the hands of Orlando and to make matters worse, Mo Cheeks and Will Bynum got into a shouting match during the game.

The season so far

What's been happening with these teams? Check the stats:

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Detroit

Record

22-25 19-29

Pace

93.88 97.42

Offensive Efficiency

103.2 101.8

Defensive Efficiency

105 105

Offensive Rebounding percentage

22.7 31.6

Turnover rate

15.4 15.8

Assist rate

16.8 15.3

Rebound rate

48.1 51.5

Free throw rate

31.3 30.4

Effective Field Goal percentage

50.2 48.2

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.6 51.8

Alan Anderson had possibly the best game of his season. He had a big second half and ended up with 22 points in 30 minutes and was the most popular player in the section I was in.

As expected, Kevin Garnett will more than likely sit this one out. He's pushed back against being given the second half of back-to-backs off since he got here, but hasn't won that battle yet. The Nets have been one of the legue's weaker rebounding teams since January, but Garnett has been great on the defensive glass. They're going to miss him immensely against Drummond and friends.

Deron Williams had a decent game last night, collecting16 points, eight assists and only two turnovers. It doesn't "feel" dominant, but you'll always take actual efficient production over what you feel is dominant. He'll be dealing with a notoriously poor defender in Jennings so look for him to be aggressive.

With the frontcourt of Andre Drummond, Josh Smith & Greg Monroe, it's no surprise that they're one of the league's best on the offensive glass. They collect 31.6 percent of their misses, tops in the league. Unfortunately, there isn't anything great after that. They average close to 102 points per 100 possessions, and while they're second in the league in shots attempted inside the restricted area a game (a result of getting so many O-rebounds), they only shoot 61 percent. They also get to the line a lot, but are dead last in free throw efficiency. You can pin this on the frontcourt trio as only Monroe can be classified as a decent FT shooter (decent in this context meaning at least 60 percent).

Unsurprisingly, Smith is still taking three pointers, but he's on a historic pace this year. The problem is that he's on a historically bad pace. He's averaging a career high in three pointers attempted a game, but is shooting the worst percentage from deep since he started taking threes. And according to Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys, Smith is on pace to have the worst season from behind the three point line in league history. He's much better in the post (he's shooting 67 percent in the restricted area), but with Monroe & Drummond operating on the inside, there isn't enough space.

By the time the Nets and Pistons play again in late April, Greg Monroe might be playing elsewhere. He's seen as the Pistons best trade asset, one that would help them acquire a reliable scorer, unlike the unreliable Smith.

Player to Watch: Brandon Jennings

I'm sure someone out there is saying "I told you so." Jennings has been knocked for being a poor shooter whose defense is suspect, at best. Moreover, he's been dreadful in two games he's played against Brooklyn, shooting a paltry 20.8 percent! But he can explode. This month --three games-- he's shot only 32.7 percent (25.0 percent on only eight shots) but he's had two games of 20 or more, including 26 vs. the Heat in a close game. In the other game, he scored only 15 points, but dished out 11 assists. Moreover, in the six games before his double-double, Jennings was on fire, averaging 25 per game, shooting 42.9 percent. In other words, he can explode as anyone who watched his 53-point explosion as a young Buck in his rookie season. The best thing about Jennings' season might have been his Twitter beef with J.R. Smith.

From the Vault

Game One of the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals. The game is tied at 74 in Detroit. Here's the finish:


More reading: Detroit Bad Boys

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