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Nets begin road trip with matinee vs. Pistons

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Houston Rockets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

Attitude adjustment. On Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets found themselves down big against the Miami Heat. It looked as if things were going to end in a familiar fashion (i.e. a loss), however things went differently this time. Brooklyn came back from a 16 point deficit and walked away with a great win in front of the home fans. They'll be on the road for the next week and change.

The opponent this afternoon will be the Detroit Pistons. They're in line to make the playoffs, but all is not well in the D. They lost to the Washington Wizards at home on Friday and the game was indicative of their issues this year.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 4:00. That means some channel switching for those who want to take in the AFC Championship game which starts an hour earlier.

Injuries

Not much here for the Nets. D’Angelo Russell is back. Isaiah Whitehead remains with Long Island, where he just played big minutes in back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday.

Jon Leuer is out for the season and will undergo ankle surgery. Reggie Jackson remains out.

The game

The Pistons won the first meeting earlier this month, a 34-point blowout at Barclays, the Nets worse defeat of the season.

Detroit is at a crossroads of sorts, and they’re going to have to figure out which players they want to build around. One of those players is Andre Drummond, and things are a bit complicated on that end. As Steve Hinson of Detroit Bad Boys explains:

In the meantime, Brooklyn will try to keep Dre off the boards. Jarrett Allen is more of a live body that Jahlil Okafor so he ought to get a good amount of time to battle Drummond on the boards. Okafor gives the Nets much needed interior scoring and he can provide a nice change of pace to what the Nets usually do.

Having D’Angelo Russell back will make life so much easier for Brooklyn. The Nets need players that can break defenders down off the dribble and find open looks for their teammates. Russell will be on a minutes restriction as he works his way back, so look for him to be in the teens as far as minutes go tonight.

Player to watch: Avery Bradley

We’ll get to the basketball in a second, but I wanna start with something important. At the end of last year, it was reported that Bradley paid a large amount of money to settle a sexual assault allegation that occurred during the spring of 2017.

This news came as a surprise as it wasn’t reported anywhere before the end of December and every mention of this situation focuses on the settlement. As a society, we’ve started to fully address sexual assault and its wide ranging effects on our communities and the lives of women (and men) that have been assaulted. The sports world has started to have these discussions (Diana Moskovitz of Deadspin is essential reading) and we need to keep having these discussions so we can work to prevent assault and other forms of violence.

On the court, Bradley’s been a mess. He was expected to bring lockdown perimeter defense to the team, but he’s allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent when he’s guarding them and most concerning, the Pistons defense is six points per 100 possessions BETTER when he’s off the court.

It also doesn’t help that he’s turning the ball over more than usual and is less effective finishing at the rim this season compared to years past. He’ll be a free agent this summer and if he doesn’t get his game back on track soon, he’ll wind up costing himself millions of dollars.

Caris Levert will be the man to watch in Brooklyn’s backcourt. The numbers weren’t glistening, but Levert was fantastic in the fourth quarter and helped push the Nets to victory. Quarters like that instill a lot of confidence in a player and for a second year man, a game like that will have great long term benefits.

From the Vault

It’s the playoffs and the New England Patriots are home against a team that has a great defense, solid running game, and suspect quarterback. Where have I heard that before...

More reading: Detroit Bad Boys