That didn't go particularly well. With a new coach, some new players, and an opponent that doesn't figure to be great on offense this year, the Nets got obliterated by the Boston Celtics on Opening Night. Admittedly, it's only one game out of a long 82 game season, but the Nets definitely have some things they need to work on.
Waiting for the Brooklyn Nets will be the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have gotten off to a slow start, losing to Denver and Minnesota on the road. This is the third game four nights for the Pistons, but more importantly, it's the home opener. With new coach Stan Van Gundy, expectations have risen and Detroit figures to compete for a playoff position. It's going to be an incredibly interesting season in Detroit.
Where to follow the game
This will be easy to find. For the folks watching on television, it's on YES Network, And if you're not near a television, you can listen in on WFAN 101.9 FM*. Tip off is at 7:30 Eastern time.
*Due to the Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets game airing on WFAN, Nets-Pistons will air on WCBS 880 AM.
For the Nets, Brook Lopez will miss his second straight game. He's recovering from a midfoot sprain he suffered in the preseason and it is unknown as to when he will return.
For the Pistons, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been dealing with a knee injury, but he's appeared in the first two games and should be in this one as well.
Defensively, the Nets are going to need to play much better than they did on Wednesday night. They allowed 121 points to Boston and let them score 30+ points in each of the first three quarters. Lionel Hollins mentioned that his team is a work in progress and a win here would do wonders for the team.
Looking to help turn things around will be Deron Williams. Williams didn't have a great game against Rajon Rondo and the Celtics backcourt, but he has a big advantage over Detroit's point guards. Brandon Jennings is struggling again, and he found himself benched in favor of free agent D.J. Augustin. Jennings mentioned that Augustin should start if he is playing better, and he might get his wish tonight. In addition to wanting to get his team their first win of the year, Williams is looking to pay back the Pistons after he was outplayed by Jennings during their meetings last season.
This is the first appearance for Greg Monroe this season. After signing a one year contract that will make him an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Monroe served a two game suspension due to getting arrested for drunk driving. During the preseason, Van Gundy made sure to avoid having Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith on the court at the same time. Those three together adversely affects Detroit's spacing and Van Gundy would be wise to limit the amount of time they're all on the court. Monroe has been working to expand the range on his shot, but for his first game of the year, he would be best utilized primarily in the low post. For the Nets, Kevin Garnett and Mirza Teletovic will be tasked with slowing him down. Hollins mentioned that there wasn't going to be a minutes limit on Garnett, but he only played 22:41 in Boston. To be fair, that game was a blowout and with Lopez out, he should see more minutes. He and Teletovic can help drag Monroe away from the paint with their jump shooting and that will free up driving opportunities for Williams and the other Nets.
The Nets are going to have an incredibly difficult time dealing with Andre Drummond. He's struggled two games into this season, but he has been one of the league's rebounders since he entered the league in 2012. Brooklyn's lack of athleticism has been widely discussed over the last two years and might come back to hurt them tonight. Mason Plumlee is the most athletic Brooklyn big man, and if he can stay out of foul trouble, should see a lot of minutes. Although the Nets won the rebounding battle in Boston, they have been awful on the glass in recent seasons.
Player to watch: Josh Smith
It's a familiar refrain with Smith throughout his career. He has a lot of talent, but hasn't been able to consistently put it all together. He isn't necessarily a bad player, but he isn't someone that you can build your offense around. He might be a player that can push a team over the top, and if the Pistons can trade him, that will be the reason his new team will take him. One other refrain with Smith is the excessive amount of jumpers he takes. This is his eleventh season, and every year, fans, writers, and television pundits have yelled about his terrible jump shooting and ask/beg him to cut down on them. It's gotten to the point where our friends over at Detroit Bad Boys are doing 25 squats every time Smith takes a shot outside of ten feet. At least Smith is helping to keep folks in shape. Kenneth Faried knew of Smith's terrible shooting history and said:
Josh Smith, we let him keep shooting. And he ended up with 25, but he still kept shooting. He shot them out of the game.
Smith took great offense to what Faried said and responded:
"He fears me. He's scared of me, so, of course, he'll talk about me in the paper. He won't do it to me in my face. If you have to hide behind a microphone or smartphone, so be it. I don't mind."
The rematch is on February sixth. As for this game, the Nets figure to use the same strategy when defending Smith. By letting him take jumpshots, it will disrupt Detroit's offense and help out Brooklyn's defenders. The further you can keep him away from the basket, the easier it is to defend Detroit. With Monroe back, there's reason to wonder if Smith will actually start. Keep an eye out before gametime.
From the Vault
Home openers are fun, especially when your team has won the last two NBA Championships.
More reading: Detroit Bad Boys
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Detroit Pistons Game Notes - Detroit Pistons
- Brooklyn at Detroit - Kevin Chroust - STATS LLC
- Brook Lopez Stays on Sideline as the Nets Say Little - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- No Brook Lopez could spell trouble for the Nets against the Pistons - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Nets having issues defending the paint - Howie Kussoy - New York Post
- Ailing Lopez still not ready for return to Nets’ lineup - Howie Kussoy - New York Post
- Brook Lopez out at Detroit, no timetable for return - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets' Brook Lopez misses practice; will not play against Pistons - Colin Stephenson - Newsday
- Paint protection "point of pride" for Plumlee, Nets - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Hollins no longer optimistic about Lopez’s foot - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Pistons guard Jennings wants more playing time - Vincent Goodwill - Detroit News
- Ellis: Pistons must discern Drummond’s true potential - Vince Ellis - Detroit Free Press
- Detroit Pistons' Brandon Jennings: 'I'll be the backup' - Vince Ellis - Detroit Free Press
- Check out bigger scoreboard, WiFi at Palace - Vince Ellis - Detroit Free Press
- Greg Monroe returns tonight as Detroit Pistons host Brooklyn Nets in home opener - David Mayo - MLive
- Pistons' Butler back to help Van Gundy's vision - Noah Tristerap - AP
- Pistons welcome Nets to the Palace for home opener - WDIV