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Joe Johnson with a great individual effort as Nets lose 5th straight; Pistons win, 109-97

Bruce Bennett

BROOKLYN - It's the same old song, as the Nets suited up against the Pistons without Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilneko and Jason Terry, who according to coach Jason Kidd are all day-to-day. For the first 24 minutes of the game Brooklyn made everyone think the worst was behind them, showing some energy, offensive spacing and rhythm.

The second half, well, things fell apart, as the Nets once again lost, their fifth straight game, by a score of 109-97.

The Pistons came into town with an equal amount of struggle, at 4-8, but they also have a giant front-line in Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, facing a Nets team giving up size without Lopez. And early on in this one, the Pistons exploited the lack of size Brooklyn boasted by constantly forcing things into the paint.

Detroit scored 16 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Nets 18-7 in the first quarter. Tone, set. Nets were down early, 23-19 after one.

The hot-hand early in the second quarter belonged to Alan Anderson who scored a quick five points, followed by a Joe Johnson three that gave the Nets a one-point lead. There seemed to be more of an emphasis on floor spacing and ball movement, after seeing next to no movement in the first.

Joe Johnson was fantastic in the second quarter, scoring 13 points 5-of-5 shooting. Paul Pierce also came alive, scoring six in the quarter and helping the Nets to a 51-44 lead at halftime.

And then, right on cue, the third quarter happened. It was less of an offensive struggle, per se, but more that they could not get a stop on the defensive end. The Pistons out-scored the Nets 34-15 in the quarter, carrying a 78-66 double-digit lead into the fourth. OK, so, yeah the offense was bad.

The Nets were down 12 to start the fourth quarter, and the lineup they trotted out there to climb back into this game was Tyshawn Taylor, Alan Anderson, Tornike Shengelia, Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee. Brooklyn never made a serious run, obviously, until Johnson returned. He did his best to carry the team on his back, but it wasn't enough for one man.

Joe Johnson played really, really well, for what it's worth. He scored a game-high 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting. It also happened to be a career-best as a Net for Johnson, and a career-high in threes with eight made. It's hard to knock his individual effort in this one.

Everyone else, nothing.

Detroit scored 56 points in the paint and forced 18 Brooklyn turnovers. There's your story right there.

For more on the Pistons, see: Detroit Bad Boys