The Brooklyn Nets are coming off an ugly 121-105 defeat against the Boston Celtics, Wednesday night in the season opener. The Nets' defense was the prime suspect after the loss, allowing the Celtics to outscore them 62-40 in the paint, and allowed Boston to shoot 56% from the field. Saturday night needed to be a different story from the Nets, as they went up against the Detroit Pistons and their aggressive front-court led by Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.
Injury note: As it's been noted the last couple of days, Brook Lopez would be out due to a mild foot sprain. Lopez was deemed out 10-14 days on October 16 but evidently had a setback, thus holding him out longer than expected. His status for Monday night's home opener is still uncertain.
Behind a huge offensive outburst from Joe Johnson, the Nets found their first victory of the season against the Detroit Pistons, 102-90. Coming off a horrid first game, the Nets bounced back with a huge effort as they shot 48% from the field and out-rebounded the Pistons 48-41. Rebounding was a major concern heading into this game. To add to the Nets' strong defensive play in this game, they held the Pistons to an abysmal 5% from three.
Johnson led the way with 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists on 14-of-23 shooting. Kevin Garnett had his best game of his Nets career, finishing with 18 points, 14 rebounds and two steals. Deron Williams also chipped in 15 points and six assists, while Mirza Teletovic scored 12 points and seven rebounds on 4-of-7 shooting, thus making him 12-of-18 on the year.
"Joe Jesus, you know what it is. It's great. It's great, man," said Garnett of his teammate's performance. "Me and Double-A (Alan Anderson) was kind of joking. We saw him bopping, getting it going. You can kind of see it coming like a tornado ... It’s crazy, man. After this win and after seeing a performance like that, it feels like he had a hundred or something."
Of his own performance, KG said it won't be an aberration. It's what he prepared for over the summer.
"My mindset changed June 1," Garnett told reporters. "I got back to my regimen. I got back to what I know. I got back to what made me great over these years. I got back to who I am. I’ve been ready from Day 1, from camp, for whatever it was. I didn’t want to tell the world because, obviously, you never know what tomorrow is, but I’m ready this year. "I’m not messing around. I’m here. I’m here."
There was admiration, as well, in the home locker room at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
"We got blown up by a great player," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told AP. "I've been coaching against him for a long time, and as you can see, I still haven't found a way to stop him. We wanted to double him, but he was making 23-footers, and you don't want to run a guy out that far. At the end, we didn't have a choice."
For Detroit, Greg Monroe led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Brandon Jennings also scored 18 and dished out nine assists. Andre Drummond finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, but was limited due to foul trouble.
The Nets out-rebounded the Pistons, 48-41 and had only eight turnovers, after throwing away 21 on Wednesday. The Pistons hefty front-court was held to just 10 offensive rebounds compared to the Nets' 12.
Unlike Wednesday night in Boston, the Nets got off to a solid start against Detroit with Mirza Teletovic's eight points. The Nets as a team shot 55% from the field and held the Pistons to just 40% shooting. With the defense being the story of the night in the season opener, it was refreshing to see the Nets stick with the Pistons' athletic front-court. After one, Brooklyn led, 33-25.being the main facilitator. Johnson went off for 12 points and four assists in the quarter, followed up by
Early in the second quarter, Deron Williams reminded Nets fans why he can still be elite. Williams showed his confidence after executing a beautiful crossover turn into a tear drop in the lane over Andre Drummond. On the following two possessions, Williams used a beautiful step-back move on Kyle Singler to put Brooklyn up 10 and force an early timeout from the Pistons.
The Nets built their lead up to 14, but the Pistons answered with a 15-4 run late in the quarter. The lead dwindled to three, but following a Lionel Hollins timeout, the Nets responded with a 10-1 run to end the half. The Nets finished the half shooting a stellar 52% from the field, 46% from three and committed only three turnovers.
Joe Johnson shot lights out, finishing the half leading all scorers with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists. Mirza Teletovic chipped in 12, followed up by Deron Williams' 11 points and Kevin Garnett's 10 points. Things were looking very smooth for the Nets offense.
Score at the half: Nets 59, Pistons 47.
Just as the third quarter was established and underway, Andre Drummond started to dominate down low. He scored six straight points for the Pistons, but picked up his fourth foul, forcing him to the bench earlier than usual. This was the Nets' best chance to be the aggressor down low.
As a side note, Kevin Garnett notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds at the halfway mark of the third quarter. Keep in mind, the Nets emphasized how hard Garnett worked in the offseason. It's showing thus far.
Similar to Drummond, Mason Plumlee found himself in early third-quarter foul trouble. Jerome Jordan filled in the backup role nicely, providing the Nets with solid minutes, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds. The Pistons shot a fantastic 12-19 from the field and outscored Brooklyn 28-22 in the third quarter, which cut their deficit to six. After three quarters, the Nets led 81-75.
The Pistons used their late resurgence in the third quarter to propel an even bigger run in the early stages of the fourth. They went on a 14-2 run to take an 84-83 lead, but nine straight points from Joe Johnson had the Nets on a 9-2 run, putting them back up six with six minutes remaining. "Joe Cool" was as cool as ever.
The Nets continued to ride Joe Johnson in the late stages of the fourth. Despite hard double-teams from the Pistons, Johnson was unconscious -- scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter alone -- putting Brooklyn up double digits with just 2:22 remaining. The Nets outscored Detroit 19-13 in the fourth quarter, with 15 of the 19 being scored from Johnson. They held the Pistons to just one field goal within the last 10 minutes of the game, further displaying a huge bounce-back defensive effort from Brooklyn.
Final score: Nets 102, Pistons 90.
The Nets will open their home schedule against the Oklahoma City Thunder -- Monday, 7:30 PM. The Thunder will be without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
For more on the Detroit Pistons, check them out at Detroit Bad Boys.
- Nets at Pistons - Boxscore - NBA.com
- Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 PM - NetsDaily
- Nets vs. Pistons (Video) - NBA.com
- Johnson Goes Off (Video) - NBA.com
- Monroe Gets the Hoop and Harm (Video) - NBA.com
- Jennings with the Scoop (Video) - NBA.com
- Drummond Puts it Back (Video) - NBA.com
- Post Game Plus: Nets beat Pistons in Detroit (Video) - Chris Shearn - YES Network
- Johnson on shooting in fourth-quarter run (Video) - Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Garnett on Johnson's clutch shooting in win (Video) - YES Network
- Hollins on Johnson's big night in Nets' win (Video) - YES Network
- Plumlee on bouncing back from loss in Boston (Video) - YES Network
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets at Pistons - NetsDaily
- Nets vs. Pistons: First half (Video) - NBA.com
- Brooklyn Nets get first win, ruin Detroit Pistons' home opener, 102-90 - AP
- Nets 102, Pistons 90 - Reuters
- Joe Johnson torches Pistons in fourth quarter to help Nets hold on for 102-90 victory - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
- Brook Lopez hopes to be ready for Nets' home opener vs. Thunder on Monday - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
- Joe Johnson pours in 34 points to propel Nets to first victory - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets rewind: Deron Williams’ explosion is back - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson lift Nets past Pistons, 102-90 - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Brook Lopez to practice Sunday, try to play Monday - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Joe Johnson heats up in fourth quarter to lift Nets to first win - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets' Brook Lopez thrilled he might return Monday - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets 102, Pistons 90: Joe Johnson steps up - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Brook Lopez back on Monday? - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Kevin Garnett has best game with Brooklyn - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Joe Johnson Dominates As Nets Roll - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets slice through Pistons defense, spoil Palace opener - Vincent Goodwill - Detroit News
- Pistons drop home opener to Nets, 102-90 - Vince Ellis - Detroit Free Press
- Nets 102, Pistons 90: Torrid-shooting Joe Johnson ruins Detroit's home opener - David Mayo - MLive
- Greg Monroe's return to Detroit Pistons lineup produces 18 points, 11 rebounds but no victory - Brendan Savage - MLive
- Column: Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores says Stan Van Gundy sees 'big picture' of building a winner - Dave Lapointe - MLive