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Nets end succesful March on a bad note with 90-89 loss to Detroit

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Nets and Pistons played each other, Brook Lopez won the game in thrilling fashion with a game-winner as time expired.

This game was just a wee bit different.

The Detroit Pistons (35-41) just barely defeated the Nets (16-59) —and just barely stayed in the playoff picture— in one of the ugliest games all season, 90-89. Like Tuesday against the Sixers, Brooklyn failed to execute in the final moments. Not to mention, they allowed Detroit to score 31 points in the fourth quarter after their best defense effort through three quarters.

Both teams struggled and it was in large part due to the stars struggling.

Brook Lopez and Andre Drummond were both scoreless at halftime in a very weird game. But then, Lopez, the Pistons killer, nailed two three-pointers to cap off a 12-2 Brooklyn run to put Brooklyn up by three with 1:34 remaining.

However, Ish Smith answered with five straight points leading to an eventual 8-0 run to close out the game. Marcus Morris sealed the deal with 1.2 seconds left.

Morris scored a game-high 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Ish Smith followed up with 21 points.

Sean Kilpatrick led Brooklyn with 15 points off the bench, followed up by Jeremy Lin and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who each finished with 14 apiece. RHJ finished in double figures for a fourth straight game.

The story of the game was Lopez’s 4-of-17 shooting night. Lopez averaged 31 points in two games prior against the Pistons this season. The Nets as a whole shot 38 percent and 10-of-31 from deep.

The Nets finish the month of March 7-10. Despite the loss, they’re still a much improved group over the season.

The story…

As noted, the Nets and Pistons played some ugly basketball. Brooklyn’s defense was stifling and held Detroit to 35 points in the first half, marking the least points they’ve allowed in a half this season.

The problem? They only scored 39 points. Both Jeremy Lin and Lopez were ice cold with a combined five points on 2-of-13 shooting. Lopez was held scoreless.

The offensive woes for both teams continued in the third quarter. They both scored 24 points apiece as the Nets led 63-59 through three quarters, again marking the lowest amount of points they’ve allowed through three quarters.

Usually when the Nets defense plays well, their offense does as well. Good defense leads to good offense. It all coincides. But that wasn’t the case in this one at least until the two teams entered the fourth quarter.

It didn’t last, at least not for the Pistons. They held a 21-11 advantage midway through the fourth and picked up a six-point lead. It doesn’t sound like much but in this game it was a whole lot.

But as usual, the Nets weren’t going down without a fight. They answered with a 12-2 run and led by four with 1:32 remaining. Brook Lopez, who was 2-of-14 from the field, nailed two consecutive three-pointers to cap off the run.

Then, to make things crazier, Ish Smith nailed a three-pointers to put Detroit up one with 28 seconds left. Lopez missed an open three and Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris sealed the deal at the line.


Donny Marshall said on YES that Nets might shut down their veterans to get long looks at players at the end of the bench. Sean Marks did that last season, of course, shutting down Lopez and Thaddeus Young for the last 11 games, all of which the Nets lost.

The Nets have five players with team options and one on the final days of his second 10-day.

Of course, if the Nets shut down Lopez, it would deny him a chance to set the Nets all-time scoring record this season. Lopez is now at 10,310 points, 130 shy of Buck Williams’ career mark.


Caris LeVert, from Pickering, Ohio, and Spencer Dinwiddie, from Los Angeles, have Detroit ties. LeVert played four years, even if abbreviated, at Michigan, while LeVert was drafted by the Pistons, then waived. So there was some possibilities for positive returns.

How’d they do? It looked like LeVert was going to have a breakout game in front of the blue and gold alumni, but after scoring seven points and grabbing five boards in the first nine minutes, he went scoreless the rest of the way and grabbed only two more boards. He shot 3-of-9 including 1-of-1 from three in 25 minutes, grabbed seven boards, again most early, and handed out four assists.

Dinwiddie finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including a breakaway two-handed dunk, and added three rebounds and two assists. He played 20 minutes, backing up Lin.


Rondae Hollis-Jefferson kept up his good play of late with 14 points (6-of-14) and nine rebounds. Over the last four games, RHJ is averaging 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds while shooting 42 percent overall.


Multiple reports say that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is strongly believed to be a Nets target this summer, was stopped around 2:50 a.m. Wednesday morning with a blood alcohol level of .08, which is the legal limit. Police described him as “very cooperative.” He reportedly was driving 45 mph in a 25 mph zone and after he was pulled over, an officer smelled alcohol and conducted a sobriety test.


Next up: Saturday at home against Orlando.