On Friday night, the Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons by a final score of 107-105.
The Skinny: In his first game back after missing seven, Brook Lopez was a little rusty around the basket to start but found his groove for five points in just over five minutes. Both teams exhibited balanced offensive attacks in the early going, but Brooklyn’s interior defense broke down late in the quarter, allowing the Pistons to take a two-point lead after one.
The Pistons maintained their lead to start the second quarter, but hot outside shooting from Joe Johnson gave the Nets the lead with just over half the quarter to play. Brooklyn then went on a dominating 21-0 run led by Gerald Wallace and Andray Blatche. Wallace hit on 3-of-4 from three-point range in the first half to help the Nets lead by 12 at the break.
Detroit started the third quarter as they did the first quarter and went on a 12-2 run to cut the Nets’ lead to one and took the lead a few possessions later on a Rodney Stuckey layup. Brandon Knight had nine points in the quarter after scoring nine combined in the first half, which helped the Pistons take a four-point lead after three.
Both teams came out cold to start the fourth, but the Nets began mounting a comeback. Four straight points from Wallace cut the Pistons’ lead to just one. The Nets later regained the lead on a Johnson leaner off the glass. But a 7-0 Detroit run put the Pistons right back on top. Brooklyn was down six with 1:32 remaining, but a Deron Williams layup and two Wallace free throws cut the deficit to two with 50.6 seconds to play. A defensive stop got Brooklyn the ball back with 29.4 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Johnson’s runner hit the rim, but Wallace was there for the put-back to tie the game at 90. At the other end, Wallace soared to grab the rebound off a Knight miss with 1.7 seconds left. Williams missed an off balance three to send the game to overtime.
Blatche connected on the first points of overtime, but Tayshaun Prince answered right back to give the Pistons a two-point lead. C.J. Watson answered with a three-pointer to put the Nets back ahead. Stuckey followed with a layup, but Williams connected on a three to put the Nets back up two with two minutes to go. Stuckey again answered right back with a jumper to tie the game at 98. A few possessions later, Stuckey again hit a clutch running jumper in the lane to give the Pistons the lead with 41.4 seconds remaining. Johnson hit a running jumper to tie the game once again. At the other end, the Pistons let the clock run down, but Stuckey’s jumper hit the back of the rim, sending the game to double overtime.
Knight opened the scoring in double overtime with a layup. Jason Maxiell hit 1-of-2 free-throws to give the Pistons a three-point lead with 1:18 to play. Wallace rolled in a bucket at the other end to cut the Detroit lead to one. Following a Prince miss, Johnson hit a runner in the lane to give the Nets the lead. Greg Monroe was fouled at the other end, but he missed both free-throws. Johnson made 1-of-2 free-throws to give Brooklyn a two-point lead with 10.5 seconds left. Knight missed a jumper, but the rebound leaked right to Kyle Singler, who hit an easy an uncontested layup to tie the game with 5.8 seconds to go. But at the other end, Johnson hit a buzzer-beating deep jumper to give the Nets a huge win.
High Scorers: Johnson led all scorers with 28 points on 12-of-22 shooting. For the Pistons, Knight led the way with 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting.
Key Stats: The Pistons outrebounded the Nets, 54-43, including 18-10 on the offensive glass. Detroit led 28-12 in second-chance points.
Who Was Hot: Wallace scored 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double and blocked two shots. Williams scored 17 points and dished out six assists. Blatche finished with 16 points on 7-of-12 from the floor. Prince recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and added six assists. Monroe poured in 17 points for the Pistons on 7-of-15 shooting and pulled down eight boards. Stuckey scored 19 points off the bench for Detroit.
Who Was Not: Kris Humphries struggled in this one, playing only 15:32 minutes and missing all five of his shots from close range. The Nets are paying him a lot of money to go scoreless.
Fun Fact: Though it was difficult, the win moves the Nets to 8-1 against teams with a record below .500 and 10-4 against the Eastern Conference.
Jim Mancari, ContributorWhat an incredible finish to this game, though it really shouldn’t have even gone that far. The Nets blew a 17-point lead but somehow manged to come back and win this game in double overtime.
This was shaping up to be a trap game from the beginning, but the Nets had a huge second quarter. But the second half looked a lot like the Nets earlier in the season.
Johnson had another big game and hopefully with effort, he continues to come into his own as a Brooklyn Net. Drilling the game-winning shot could be his official “Welcome to Brooklyn!” moment.
Brooklyn (13-9) hits the road for one game at the United Center in Chicago to take on the Bulls Saturday night. The 8 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network and WGN America.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.