In the first meeting of these two teams Detroit lost a heartbreak in double overtime after a Joe-Johnson buzzer-beater at the Barclays Center. In its quest for revenge, Detroit actually has something In its favor -- the Nets have lost 10 straight in the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Here is hoping game two with Jose Calderon -- current (and hopefully future) Piston -- goes better than game one. Jose Calderon was actually pretty excellent in his first game as a member of the Detroit Pistons, if only anyone else on his team could have helped him out. Instead just about everyone crapped the proverbial bed and the Detroit was smoked by the New York Knicks for the third time this season, 99-85.
Calderon scored a team-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting and a number of pretty passes that would have turned into assists if his teammates could, you know, hit a shot. It was definitely a learning curve game for the entire rotation, adapting to a point guard with whom they hadn't practiced with and several players in less familiar positions -- Singler playing almost exclusively at small forward, Brandon Knight shifting over to shooting guard and Rodney Stuckey occasionally playing small forward in some truly awful small-ball lineups.
Andre Drummond played only eight minutes against the Knicks due to the flare up of a sore back. He should be good to go tonight, however. In his absence the team saw some great minutes from Jonas Jerebko, who scored eight points and corralled five rebounds in 16 minutes of work. Hopefully he gets minutes tonight despite the team being at full strength
The Nets, meanwhile, are probably pretty happy to see Detroit on their schedule. After starting out the post-Avery Johnson era at a torrid pace the team has cooled considerably. The team is 2-4 in its last six including a loss to a Los Angeles Lakers team missing Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace (for this punch).
The chief culprit of Brooklyn's struggles has been its highest-paid player, Joe Johnson, who has shot just 35.9 percent from the field in that span.
Keys to the Game
DrumRoe -- Andre Drummond, obviously needs to play more than eight minutes for the Pistons to be successful. But more important is Greg Monroe, who sometimes lets opponents get position under the basket and struggles to limit offensive rebounds. Brook Lopez is going to look to score on the block and the more minutes Drummond can defend Lopez the better. Everone else, meanwhile, and that includes Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche, is going to look to grab offensive boards to pass out to Brooklyn's shooters for a second-chance opportunity.
Hit your shots -- We know that Calderon is going to be able to set up his teammates reasonably well and the Nets struggle defending the perimeter and allow a healthy shooting percentage. There is no excuse for them to turn in a performance similar to Monday's in New York.
Charlie Villanueva -- We talk a lot about minute allocations for Drummond and along our new perimeter but at some point we're going to have to question what to do with CV. His production (and thankfully) his minutes are both trending down. He shot just 33 percent in January and has shot 36.8 percent in his last 10 games. Hopefully a side effect of Calderon is giving Charlie enough open opportunities to get his game going again.