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Back to the games: Nets welcome Pistons to a somber Barclays Center

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Detroit Pistons v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been tough ... very, very tough. The Nets lost Sunday to the Knicks. The score didn’t matter, the performance didn’t matter. Kenny Atkinson said he didn’t even review the game tape, moved right past it to preparing for the Pistons. The two teams played in a fog, in a daze. The loss wasn’t about the game, the 48 minutes. It was about Kobe Bryant, his life. We will all try to move on. No guarantees, but we will try.

Tonight’s opponent is the Detroit Pistons who the Nets beat on Saturday in the Motor City. Now, the two teams will face off in Brooklyn. The Nets are hoping for the same result, minus the overtime, of course.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip after 7:30 PM.

Injuries

DeAndre Jordan is back after missing five games with a dislocated middle finger on his right hand.

There’s no guarantee that Kyrie Irving will play. The Nets will let him decide. Kenny Atkinson said he’s still “tremendously affected” by Bryant’s death. However, word from the team was that he practiced with intensity Monday. Irving exited the court without speaking with the media.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (illness) is probable. Assuming Irving and TLC will play, only Kevin Durant will be out vs. Detroit. In other words, the Nets will be as healthy as they’ve been all year.

Blake Griffin is done for the year, Derrick Rose and Matt Snell, who missed Monday’s loss to the Cavaliers, are questionable.

The Game

The Nets need this one. It’s the third game in a seven-game stretch against sub-.500 teams. The Nets barely escaped the Pistons in an overtime win on Saturday, then lost to the Knicks Sunday. After Wednesday, it’s the Bulls, Wizards, Suns and Warriors.

Irving, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen all played big games on Sunday. Kenny Atkinson needs all three again Wednesday. Also, Spencer Dinwiddie will debut his new jersey number, 26.

The Pistons are bad. So bad that after their Monday night loss to Cavaliers, Coach Duane Casey tried to install some pride in his players by comparing their poor play to Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality.

“(Bryant) was just talking about how you have to be driven shouldn’t have to be motivated driven to be successful and they do,” Casey said after Tuesday’s practice. “And that’s, that’s the thing about (Monday) night in the second half was our competitive level. You shouldn’t have to be motivated to come out and that’s especially young players.”

Tonight is also Chinese Culture Night and since Joe Tsai is the NBA’s only Chinese owner ... or governor, expect a special evening. As part of the game, the Nets will honor the Lunar New Year of the Mouse, which symbolizes wisdom.

The opening ceremony, which starts at 7:15 will include a national anthem performance by the world’s youngest string orchestra – “The Joyous String Ensemble.” The Nets will wear Lunar New Year pregame shooting shirts and starting lineups will be announced in Chinese.

Asian American rapper MC Jin will perform at halftime and the evening will also feature unique dance routines from the Brooklynettes and TAKALA LAND, a Chinese kids hip-hop dance team.

Player to Watch: Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson was almost a Nets. Back in February 2015, the Nets were within 15 minutes of completing a blockbuster deal, four teams, seven players. The key pieces were Brook Lopez and Jackson. Brooklyn would have then signed Jackson to a five year, $80 million deal ... and dumped Deron Williams.

The Thunder reneged at the last minute and instead sent Jackson to Detroit where he got the same deal, which is now finally running out. To say he’s been disappointing is an understatement. He’s missed 109 games in four and a half years years, including 42 this year with a bad back. Even when he’s been healthy, he proven to be a poor leader.

Now, there’s a debate among Pistons fans about whether to re-sign him or lose him for nothing. It seems unlikely that Detroit will take the bait.

From the Vault

Back in the day, back in New Jersey, Kobe at the Continental Airlines Arena. Enjoy.