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Nets open preseason with 101-94 win behind Lin’s 21

NBA: Preseason-Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Forget the predictions. Forget the pessimism. Basketball is back and life is good again.

We don’t want to over-excite ourselves, but Nets basketball was actually A LOT of fun on this evening. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy emphasized defense before the game, but the Nets shot 46 percent and defeated Detroit in the preseason opener, 101-94, Thursday night at Barclays Center.

It was led behind an eye-popping performance from Jeremy Lin, who scored 21 points in 17 minutes on 5-of-8 3-point shooting.

During the YES coverage, Jim Spanarkel and Ryan Ruocco discussed Lin's changing shooting dynamic.

It was all justified within the Nets up-tempo pace on offense, led by Lin. There was constant movement on and off the ball, which opened up the pick & roll game, the perimeter game and the entire paint for the guards to penetrate, even with the likes of Andre Drummond defending underneath.

Not to mention, the Nets have big men that can spread the floor. Luis Scola knocked down three 3-pointers, while Justin Hamilton scored nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 1-of-2 from deep – posing as a threat from the outside. Again, this brought the Detroit big men out to the perimeter and opened up the paint for Brooklyn.

The Nets had nine three-pointers at half and trailed by only two. Midway through the third quarter, they went on a 14-0 run and found a 7-point lead. It was tight for most of the fourth, but the Nets went on an 18-6 run to give them a 13-point lead with under two minutes remaining.

Overall, they were 14-of-34 from deep or 41.2 percent.   Lin explained that the Nets hope their offense will defy description.

"It’s going to be a variety, since we have a variety of players. We have one of the best — if not the best — back-to-the-basket players in the NBA. So you can’t just stay in pick-and-roll,’’ said Lin. "Obviously I know how to play in the pick-and-roll, but we can’t only go back-to-the-basket. And we have shooters, so we can’t only go [post up]. We have to put in staggers, pin-downs and catch-and-shoot situations, too."

His coach, Kenny Atkinson, said he liked what he saw, but also saw a lot of flaws as well, including Lin's passing game.  The point guard had only one assist, to Joe Harris.

"It’s [due to] his role last year. He was in a scoring role. He came off the bench and he was looking to attack every time. That’s where we are right now, trying to get him back into point-guard mode, instead of thinking score, score, score,’’ said coach Kenny Atkinson. "That’s something we’re working on, it’s something we’re talking to him about, and we definitely want to see that assist rate go up."

Still, as the Brooklyn Brigade chanted: UNDEFEATED!

Quick observations:

·      Rondae Hollis-Jefferson may not have the great jump shot, but he’s a difference maker on the floor. He finished with a plus-20 on the night and created offense for those around him.

·      Joe Harris can shoot the lights out of the ball (12 points on 5-of-11 shooting).

·      Luis Scola might be somebody we see in the starting lineup down the road. His offensive game is strong and can ease some pressure off Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin. His defense could use some work, though.

. Yogi Ferrell looked comfortable in his NBA debut, connecting on a long three, getting into the paint with some herky-jerky moves and spreading the ball.

·      Sean Kilpatrick might need some time to find his niche (0-of-7).

·      Both Anthony Bennett and Chris McCullough struggled to finish down low.

·      And finally, Greivis Vasquez looked healthy and ready.

Did not play: Bojan Bogdanovic & Isaiah Whitehead. The Nets have been cautious with Bogdanovic after a demanding summer.

Next game: Saturday at MSG.