Last Friday night in Detroit, the Brooklyn Nets went up against the Pistons in one of the most interesting games of the year. After losing to Brooklyn earlier this month, the Pistons looked for revenge right out of the gate. Especially after the signing of ex-Piston, Blake Griffin, there seemed to be some bad blood between Griffin and his former teammates. Throughout the game, both teams seemed to irritate each other as they bumped bodies, jawed at each other, and committed hard fouls towards each other. By the end of the 4th quarter, it was anyone’s game as the last meeting between these two teams came down to free throws and key defensive stops. The Nets barely escaped the Pistons, 113-111.
From the start, Detroit went at Brooklyn with everything that they had. From defensive effort and switches to pure physicality and toughness, Detroit had it all. James Harden struggled at the start of the game, however, his passing ability along with the rest of the team got them open looks from three. As the Pistons’ interior defense was mostly a brick wall all game, the Nets had to adjust and focus on perimeter ball movement. Despite the clean looks they got, the Nets could not capitalize on most of their shot attempts.
It was clear that Detroit’s competitiveness and toughness were affecting the Nets. Not being comfortable with their dribble penetration and cuts to the basket made it difficult for Brooklyn to score as easily as they usually do. The Pistons had the Nets off to a slow start, but this did not last forever as the game went on.
Brooklyn matched Detroit’s physicality and resilience though, as both teams did not want to back down. There were multiple occurrences of potential brawls in the arena, as 5 technical fouls (all players) were called in this game and one flagrant call was made. The flagrant foul that was called led to Isiah Stewart, Pistons’ center, being ejected from the game.
Guys like Blake Griffin, who showed great presence on the bench, kept getting fouled and hit intentionally. He eventually snapped and almost picked up a second technical foul after previously receiving a tech. Fortunately for him and the Nets, he continued to play and went on to bring great team energy and toughness throughout the game. This was easily one of the wildest and most physical games for Brooklyn this season.
Down to the Wire
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Nets began to show signs of life once again. They came out shooting the lights out as they strung together some small runs. Shooting by Harden, Jeff Green, and Tyler Johnson really fueled the Nets as they picked up their offensive tempo. While Brooklyn’s offense picked up, they began limiting their points in the paint and got a few defensive stops. Despite this impressive start to the final quarter, the Nets found themselves surprisingly missing open shots as the Pistons picked up their tempo and started fastbreaks while resuming their same physicality.
As the 4th quarter went on, they climbed back into this game and were virtually tied with the Nets the rest of the way. Back and forth the lead went as both teams began fouling each other, daring their opponents to shoot free throws. This matchup ended with clutch free throws by Brooklyn, and a key defensive stop from the young prodigy, Nicolas Claxton. The Nets snuck away with the win, as they narrowly escaped the Pistons. Brooklyn’s curse of losing to the bottom teams in the league thankfully did not come true this time around.
The next game for the Brooklyn Nets (31-15) will be against the 15th seed Minnesota Timberwolves (11-34). This will be the Nets’ first game back in Brooklyn after their eventful road trip. Despite having newly acquired players and their best players being out for stretches, Brooklyn has no excuse to lose this game. This upcoming match between the Nets and Wolves will be at 7:30 PM EST on YES Network.
James Harden– 44 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 14/30 FG in 42 minutes
Blake Griffin– 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 5/8 FG, 2/2 3PT in 26 minutes
Deandre Jordan– 10 points, 9 rebounds, 5/8 FG in 20 minutes
Jerami Grant– 19 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 5/14 FG in 37 minutes
Mason Plumlee– 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4/7 FG in 31 minutes
Saddiq Bey– 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 5/9 FG, 4/6 3PT in 33 minutes