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Pistons vs. Nets preview: Detroit looking to win third straight

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Facing the second worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons look to extend their winning streak to three games.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After beating two teams who are fighting for playoff chances in the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics, the Pistons take on the second worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets. While normal teams would love to count this game as a win on their schedule, it is these teams that you hate to lose to. As the Pistons have. Can they change the outcome this time?

Game Vitals

Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
When: Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm EST
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

The Nets have won 10 of their 35 games. They are a dreadful 4-13 on the road. They have a point differential of -6.4. They are really that bad. However, even bad teams get good wins.

But you have to look at their schedule in more detail to determine how good/bad they are. They started the season losing their first seven games. But those games were to the Chicago Bulls, the San Antonio Spurs, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and two games against the Milwaukee Bucks. Four of those games were on the road. Now, the Nets might be better than the Lakers, but all of those other teams are better than the Nets. If you take out that start of the season, they're 10-18. That's still bad, but more better.

They also had another five game losing streak where they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are the only team who may not be out right better than the Nets. Again, remove that losing streak, and they're 10-13.

They have won games against the Bulls, the Hawks, the Heat and of course our Pistons. The Nets have had the third toughest strength of schedule according to ESPN. So be ready when they come to play.

The Pistons look to extend their winning streak to three. But they need to concentrate on this game and not the following four (Spurs, Grizzlies, Warriors and Bulls). They do not need to take this game for granted as a "day off".

Players to Watch

Pistons: Brandon Jennings

The Nets backup point guard is Shane Larkin. Larkin has a defensive rating of 103.3. As far as backup guards who average 19 minutes per game or more, that is pretty average. Jennings has an offensive rating of 107.7, 6th best out of bench guards averaging 18 minutes per game having played five games or more. Jennings should exploit this matchup as often as he can.

Nets: Brook Lopez

Despite the loss in the last matchup against the Nets, the Pistons got lucky to play them on a night Lopez had an off night. Averaging 19.9 points and 8.7 rebounds on the season, Lopez has strung together five straight very nice games. In those five, he's averaging 24.6 points and 11.6 rebounds. Granted, two of those games were against the Boston Celtics, and one against the Orlando Magic, teams not very deep in the front court. His shooting has been inefficient in those games, so hopefully that continues.

Last Time We Met

November 29, 2015 - Nets 87, Pistons 83

Not only was it bad enough losing to a 3-13 team at the time, but it was due to a fourth quarter collapse. The Pistons entered the fourth quarter up by eight but only managed to score 16 points in the fourth quarter while letting the Nets put up 28. Drummond had a nice game with 20 points and 18 rebounds, three steals and a block. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had an inefficient 21 points, shooting 6-for-17. Thaddeus Young led the Nets with 19 points on 12 shots while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Brook Lopez had an off night, shooting 6-for-18 for 15 points.

Projected Starters

Pistons: Jackson, KCP, Morris, Illyasova, Drummond

Nets: Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez

Score Prediction

Pistons 101, Nets 85

Community Question

Should Aron Baynes play more minutes?