The Nets try to bounce back against the Pistons

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After a great win against the Rockets on Tuesday evening, the Nets played the second half of a back-to-back in Madison Square Garden. What happened? The Nets lost by 29 points on national TV. Making matters worse for Brooklyn was Chicago, Toronto, Washington AND Charlotte all winning their respective games. The Nets trail the third and fourth seeded Raptors and Bulls by 2.5 games, lead the sixth seeded Wizards by 1.5 games and lead the seventh seeded Bobcats by 3.5 games.

Coming into Barclays Center this Friday evening will be the Detroit Pistons. They made some high profile moves this offseason in order to compete for a playoff spot, but that didn't work out. Detroit is 27-48 and focused on next season.

The Pistons lead the season series 3-0. They won the first game back in November, the second back in December, and the third in February.

There are some other games that the Nets their fans need to keep an eye out on. The Raptors host Indiana, the Wizards visit New York, and the Bulls play host to the Milwaukee Bucks. With the Nets jostling for playoff positioning, they're gonna need some help if they want to have home court advantage in the first round.

The season so far

What's the story? Let's find out

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Detroit

Record

40-34 27-48

Pace

93.78 97.51

Offensive Efficiency

104.3 102.4

Defensive Efficiency

104.3 106.5

Offensive Rebounding percentage

21.7 30.8

Turnover rate

15.2 14.9

Assist rate

16.7 15.8

Rebound rate

47 51.2

Free throw rate

31.4 28.9

Effective Field Goal percentage

51.1 48.2

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.5 51.8

There were rumblings that Andrei Kirilenko would return for the Knicks game, but that didn't happen. He's still dealing with a sprained ankle and there hasn't been an update on his status. Kevin Garnett is still hoping to return next week.

Deron Williams will be looking to bounce back against Brandon Jennings. Like everybody else for Brooklyn, Williams had an off night and he didn't have an assist to his name. The other (non-injury) game where Williams didn't have an assist was on February 7. What happened that night? Williams shot 4-10 against Detroit and Brandon Jennings was an assist away from a triple-double. Jennings is still a poor defender and Williams should be looking to take advantage of that. He doesn't gone in the low post that often, but he has plenty of size over Jennings and should look to post him up when possible.

Despite all of the awful play around him, Andre Drummond has been playing well in his sophomore season. He's built on his successful rookie season and is averaging 13 points and 12.8 rebounds a game in 32 minutes a night. He works almost exclusively inside of the restricted area, but has improved from the free throw line this season. Granted, 41 percent is still horrendous, but baby steps right? Drummond has been one of the best rebounders in the Association this year, and he picked up 22 rebounds the last time he saw Brooklyn. Garnett missed that one too, so look for Drummond to control the boards once again.

Going into the season, I think it was fair to expect the Pistons to be a decent defensive team. However, they've been one of the league's worst. They are allowing 106.5 points per 100 possessions, seventh highest in the Association. Back in November, Ben Gulker of Detroit Bad Boys told us what was ailing the Pistons defense:

The biggest surprise, however, is defense. The Pistons defense was expected to be top-tier, but it's atrocious. The Pistons have struggled to contain dribble penetration, they appear to have no reliable scheme to rotate to open shooters on the perimeter, the pick-and-roll decimates them, and even inside - where they should dominate - they are being exploited.

More on that here. What hasn't helped the Pistons has been Josh Smith having the worst season of his professional career. He has career lows in PER, true shooting percentage, rebound rate, win shares, and keeps taking all those got damn deep jumpers. Four years bruh.

Player to watch: Greg Monroe

Smith's presence on the roster has led to fewer possessions for Monroe. Despite that, he's averaging around 15 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes a night. He's also the best free throw shooter among the Pistons starting frontcourt (yeah he's only shooting 66.5 percent, but compared to Smith and Drummond, he's automatic). Although he's using fewer possessions as compared to the previous two seasons, he's cut down on his turnover rate this season. Another mark in his favor is his durability. Monroe has only missed two games in his first four seasons in the league.

As is the case with Drummond, the Nets' lack of size could provide them trouble. I had always thought Monroe was a good shooter from the high post area, but my memory must have been playing tricks on me. He's shown himself to be a great offensive rebounder, but those opportunities have declined since Drummond joined the team. Monroe has the height and size advantage over Paul Pierce and should look to exploit that. Monroe is a poor defender that can be exploited by Pierce and Andray Blatche.

From the Vault

Our old pal Brian Scalabrine has been reassigned and isn't coaching with the big club out in Golden State. Take a trip back to 2004 and relive happier times for Veal.


More reading: Detroit Bad Boys

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