BROOKLYN -- Things have been tough for the Brooklyn Nets the last few days, weeks and even first 25 games of the season. Standing at 10-15 prior to Sunday night's matchup against the Detroit Pistons, the Nets were losers of three straight and six of their last eight. Losing is tough on the psyche of a team as it is. Then of course came the injury bug.
Brook Lopez has been out for the last eight games with a back strain, and for Sunday's game, Deron Williams was also out with a strained right calf. Williams has also been the subject of trade rumors the last few days, one that would send him off to the struggling Sacramento Kings.
Riding on the back of Jarrett Jack, the Nets ended their three game losing streak with a 110-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons. The Nets shot a stellar 52.6% from the field and 40% from three. From the start of the game, Brooklyn's ball movement was fierce. They had six assists within the first four minutes of the game as they started 6-for-6 from the field. They finished the night with 29 assists, matching their season-high on December 13th against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The storyline was nearly identical to what we're accustomed to this season, but Jarrett Jack had other intentions in the third quarter that helped Brooklyn get over the hump. Jack, starting in place for Deron Williams, finished the game with 15 points, 10 assists and two steals, his first double-double as a Net and his highest assist total of the season.
The Nets jumped out to a 28-18 first quarter advantage, holding Detroit to 29% shooting in the quarter compared to their own 60% shooting. But, as stated, it was a similar story to what's doomed Brooklyn this season. Despite owning a 10 point lead, the Pistons shot 13-for-20 in the second quarter and outscored the Nets 33-25 to cut their deficit to two heading into halftime.
It was Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe who gave the Pistons the lift they needed; mostly on the boards. The Pistons grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Nets' three offensive rebounds. Drummond was the anchor. He finished with 18 points and 20 rebounds, seven of which coming on the offensive glass. Monroe on the other hand, finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
As the game progressed and the teams continued to stay close, the Nets were dealt with another bad hand. Joe Johnson was inadvertently poked in the eye, forcing him to check out of the game and sit for the rest of the third quarter. He returned, but the damage was done as Jarrett Jack was the lone force in attack on the offensive end.
The Nets owned an 89-83 lead early in the fourth quarter, but went on a 7-0 run behind five points and one assists from Darius Morris, who assisted on a Mason Plumlee and-one. And with that, the "Brooooklyn" chants reigned down from the Barclays crowd as the Nets owned a 13 point lead at the 6:43 mark, then eventually 15 with 5:31 remaining. Game over, right?
The Pistons wouldn't go down without a fight. They went on a 14-4 run during the last four minutes, cutting the Nets' 15 point lead to two with 36 seconds remaining. Brooklyn owned possession, but Mason Plumlee turned the ball over following a poor pass in the congested Pistons' paint. Detroit was on the attack with 18.6 seconds remaining, down two, but Jodie Meeks rushed a deep, contested three from 25 feet out that resulted in an airball far left.
Game over, right? Still, no. Joe Johnson hit two free throws, which was then answered by a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer to cut their deficit to one. Pope finished with 20 points and six rebounds to lead all Pistons' scorers.
Johnson hit on two more free throws and the Pistons missed on the following three. Kevin Garnett then missed two free throws, giving Detroit another chance, but Brooklyn wisely sent Pope to the line with four seconds left, cutting any chance of a three-point attempt for Detroit.
Finally, the game was over -- and with that -- the Nets' three game losing streak was over.
Despite turning the ball over at the most inconvenient time, Mason Plumlee was the star for Brooklyn; especially in the fourth quarter. In the final frame, he scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds combining for a big night of 21 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, two assists and two blocks. In his last six games, Plumlee is averaging 18 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks on 68.2% shooting in 34.2 minutes per game. He discussed his consistency.
"It's just every night's a new challenge, new personnel, and I get excited about each matchup, so you prepare for it, and you get excited about it, and to me, that's where the consistency is - just being excited to go out there and play," said Plumlee.
"Man, Mase has a factor that always keeps his ears perked up - makes sure he's always involved in the game." Jack said of Plumlee. " It's called Kevin Garnett."
Key Tip-Ins: Joe Johnson (16 points, seven rebounds and two steals), Bojan Bogdanovic (14 points), Mirza Teletovic (13 points, seven rebounds.) For Detroit: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20 points, six rebounds), Josh Smith (13 points, six assists and five rebounds), Jodie Meeks 13 points).
Quarter by quarter summary:
First quarter ... It was the exact start the Nets had hoped for against the lowly Pistons despite being undermanned. The Nets hit on their first six shots attempted, building a 14-6 lead and forcing Stan Van Gundy to call an early timeout.
The Nets' ball movement was fierce. It was damn near perfect, as they assisted on 10 of their shots which led to a 60% shooting opening quarter for Brooklyn. It wasn't only the offense, though. The defense was locking the Pistons down, forcing them to shoot 29.2% from the field while also out-rebounding Detroit 14-10. This all led to a 28-18 advantage for Brooklyn.
Second quarter ... Like we've seen on a consistent basis, the Nets' scorching play in the first quarter immediately diminishes once the second quarter comes around. Greg Monroe put Detroit on his back as he scored 13 points in the first half, but the Pistons as a whole shot 13-for-20 from the field -- improving their 29% shooting in the first to 45.5% in the second. They outscored Brooklyn 33-25, but still failed to take a lead of any sort.
Brooklyn still finished the half 55% from the field, but a 7-0 run to finish out the half brought the Pistons within two. Joe Johnson was the only Nets player in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
The score at the half: Nets 53, Pistons 51.
Third quarter ... As the Nets and Pistons continued to exchange buckets in the third quarter, Joe Johnson was inadvertently poked in the eye. He fell to the ground, grimacing in pain while holding his eye. He was immediately sent to the bench. He would return in the fourth quarter.
Rebounding was an issue for Brooklyn. They were dealing with Andre Drummond who had 12 points, 17 rebounds and Greg Monroe (13 points and six rebounds), which gave Detroit a 17-2 advantage on the offensive glass. The Nets consistently shot the ball well with their 51.7% from the field and 43.8% from three, but it was Detroit's efforts on the glass that kept them afloat. Still, Brooklyn outscored Detroit 30-27 in the quarter, and led 83-78 behind 15 points and 10 assists from Jarrett Jack. It's his first double-double as a Net and his highest assist total of the season.
Fourth quarter ... The Nets owned an 89-83 lead early in the fourth quarter, but went on a 7-0 run behind five points and one assists from Darius Morris, who assisted on a Mason Plumlee and-one. And with that, the "Brooooklyn" chants reigned down from the Barclays crowd as the Nets owned a 13 point lead at the 6:43 mark.
The Pistons wouldn't go down without a fight. They went on a 14-4 run during a three minute span, cutting the Nets' once 15 point lead to two with 36 seconds remaining. The Nets owned possession, but Mason Plumlee coughed up the ball and Detroit was on the attack.
Detroit inbounded the ball to Jodie Meeks with 18.6 seconds remaining, who chucked up a contested three-pointer that caught air to the far left. Game over, right? Still, no. Joe Johnson hit two free throws, which was then answered by a Kantavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer to cut their deficit to one. Johnson hit on two more free throws and the Pistons missed on the following three. Kevin Garnett then missed two free throws, giving Detroit another chance, but Brooklyn wisely sent Pope to the line with four seconds left, cutting any chances of a three-point attempt for Detroit.
Final score: Nets 110, Pistons 105.
For more on the Detroit Pistons, check them out at Detroit Bad Boys.
- Kevin Garnett post-game (audio) - Anthony Puccio - NetsDaily
- Mason Plumlee post-game (audio) - Anthony Puccio - NetsDaily
- Joe Johnson post-game (audio) - Anthony Puccio - NetsDaily
- Jarrett Jack post-game (audio) - Anthony Puccio - NetsDaily
- Game Thread: Brooklyn Nets vs. Detroit Pistons, 6:00 PM - NetsDaily
- Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets - Box Score - December 21, 2014 - ESPN
- 2nd Half Game Thread: Pistons at Nets - NetsDaily
- Pistons vs. Nets (Video) - NBA.com
- Arena Link: Mason Plumlee (Video) - NBA.com
- Plumlee's Night (Video) - NBA.com
- Morris to Plumlee (Video) - NBA.com
- Pistons Running (Video) - NBA.com
- Plumlee at Both Ends (Video) - NBA.com
- Garnett to Plumlee (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets Hold Off Pistons (Video) - ESPN
- Post Game Plus: Nets hold on against Pistons (Video) - Nancy Newman - YES Network
- Mason Plumlee on his recent play, win (Video) - Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Sergey Karasev on win, improving his play (Video) - YES Network
- Lionel Hollins discusses the Nets' close win (Video) - YES Network
- Hollins talks Plumlee, Pistons (Video) - YES Network
- Mason Plumlee starts the fast break... and finishes it (Video) - The Brooklyn Game
- Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets - Recap - December 21, 2014 - AP
- Nets 110, Pistons 105: Holding on, barely - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Nets beat Pistons as Deron, Brook sit and trade rumors fly - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
- After Blowing Free throws, Comes back in Final seconds - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
- Nets snap skid, hold off Pistons for much-needed win - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets nearly collapse late, hold off Pistons, 110-105 - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets notes: Deron Williams, Brook Lopez sit - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets Outlast Their Own Potential Collapse Vs. Pistons (GRADES) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Nets players who wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts call for peace following police murders - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Jack sets the pace in win - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- Jack and Plumlee Post Double-Doubles as Nets Beat Pistons - Lenn Robbins - Brooklyn Nets
- Brooklyn 110, Detroit 105: Pistons' comeback falls short vs. Nets - Vince Ellis - Detroit Free Press
- Pistons threaten but falter at finish in loss to Nets - Vincent Goodwill - Detroit News