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Pistons ring in the New Year with Nets

We're going old school today -- after weeks of being spoiled with Kevin's awesome previews, all I've got a few sparse words before reminding you the ball tips at 3 PM on Fox Sports. Enjoy the game, and if you go out tonight, be safe. Thanks for spending another year with DBB, everybody. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Update: Actually, no, we do have a preview -- sorry for the delay, we briefly had our wires crossed.

Nets: 15-16 (10-4 road)
Margin: -2.5 ppg (+1.5 road)
Last 10: 4-6 (margin -2.4)

Pistons: 18-11 (10-5 home)
Margin: +0.6 ppg (+2.5 home)
Last 10: 7-3 (margin +2.1)

Oppo research:

The Nets are the surprise team of the year. After doffing Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian, the Nets were thought to be tanking for LeBron. Alas, they’ve actually played pretty well, at least on the road. The Nets are one of the leagues best road teams, and one of the very worst home teams. Maybe the players have already made the mental move to Brooklyn.

The Nets’ offense pretty much consists of a bunch of big guys shagging balls for Devin Harris and Vince Carter. Harris’ astonishing season has been well covered, but Carter seems to be enjoying the freedom of being the second scoring option, putting up his best numbers in years.

And then there’s the rest. Brook Lopez is enjoying a solid rookie campaign, but paired with Yi and Bobby Simmons… That’s one lousy frontcourt. The Nets have had bad luck with big men, from Nenad Krstic’s injuries to losing DaSagana Diop to free agency, to Sean Williams forgetting how to play the sport in the offseason.

The Nets are a lousy defensive squad, and fail to guard the perimeter at all, allowing opponents to shoot 42% from three point range. The Nets use a long bench, with no player other than Carter and Harris, earning more than 30 mpg. It is not clear to me why this is so, since the Nets have a weak bench.

The Drama:

Devin Harris torched Detroit in Iverson’s first game as a Piston. Hopefully, that will be added motivation for the D to lock down on dribble penetration. Otherwise, things will get dramatic in a hurry.

Keys for Detroit:

Focus on Carter and Harris: In particular, harassing Carter on the perimeter and preventing Harris from getting into the lane. If you stop these guys, the Nets have no other offensive options.

Crash the boards: While NJs big men aren’t particularly skilled, they are decent rebounders, and that’s about all they do. McDyess and Amir should see heavy minutes keeping the Nets big men off the glass.

SHEEEEEED!: There’s no way NJ can keep up with him on the perimeter. Sheed should have the green light to light it up, as he’ll be open all day from three point range.

Question of the game:

With the arbitrary 3p starting time, will the Pistons be tricked into thinking it’s Sunday? If so, expect Devin Harris to drop score 67 points on 38-43 free throw shooting.