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Pistons vs. Nets final score: Rested Detroit knocks off sluggish Brooklyn, 103-89

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Pistons outscore Nets 64-46 in first and fourth quarters while Drummond, Jackson, Ilyasova combine for 65 points.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons fought off some lackluster stretches to take care of business at the Palace against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, winning 103-89. Detroit improves to 21-16 on the season, good for sole possession of the seventh spot in the East, and 13-5 at home.

The Pistons had a great first quarter despite missing their first five shots. They hit 13 out of their next 17, finishing the first quarter with a 33-23 lead. The Nets outscored them 43-39 over the next two quarters, but the Pistons went into an extra gear Brooklyn just couldn't match in the fourth, icing the game with a 31-23 fourth quarter.

The Nets struggled to create offense against a Pistons defense that packed the paint and dared the depleted Brooklyn backcourt to shoot threes. They were reluctant to shoot them anyway, attempting just nine, and the Pistons capitalized on the lack of spacing with turnovers and blocks.

Not a particularly fast team to begin with, the Nets showed signs of fatigue on the tail end of a back-to-back while the Pistons looked spry after two full days off since Wednesday's game.

Andre Drummond bounced back from a relatively lackluster performance against Boston, scoring 23 points on just 16 shooting possessions and grabbing 11 rebounds. It's his league-leading 31st double-double of the season for the Eastern Conference's third-leading All-Star vote-getter among forwards.

The aforementioned depleted Brooklyn backcourt also struggled to keep Reggie Jackson out of the paint, and he responded with 23 points and eight assists, making three of his four three-pointers. Ersan Ilyasova had arguably his best game of the season on the glass with 13 rebounds, five of them on offense, and also scored 19 points.

The first start of Stanley Johnson's NBA career got off to a rough start, as he began the game 0-for-6. He rebounded to a degree, but had a lackluster game overall with eight points, four rebounds and two steals on 4-of-13 shooting (0-for-5 from three). Darrun Hilliard, thrust into the rotation due to Marcus Morris' knee injury, also struggled early, but rode a successful fourth quarter to a career-high eight points.

Brook Lopez was the only Net able to generate consistent, efficient offense, scoring 19 points on just 12 shooting possessions and grabbing seven rebounds.

The Pistons have two days off before hosting the San Antonio Spurs, fresh off posting the greatest net rating for a month of basketball in NBA History, on Tuesday.

GAME NOTES

PRE-GAME
  • Stanley Johnson getting his first NBA start tonight. I like decreasing his offensive burden, especially matched up against wings (trying to see how many people I can annoy by constantly referencing my pipe dream of him playing the 4 consistently). So I'm excited to see how this plays out. I don't think Morris will be out that long or permanently lose the starting role, though.
  • Also turned out to be a good idea not to put Hilliard and Bullock in the D-League showcase.
  • Brooklyn may be the most depressing team in the league, but I'm very tempted to watch their broadcast of the game. Ian Eagle is awesome and they have great uniforms, design, court, everything.
  • The Nets also haven't been quiiiiite as depressing as advertised the couple times I've watched them. They're not a great team and have no hope for the future, but they play hard and aren't as bad as their reputation.
  • I do think this is a good matchup for Drummond - Lopez is a great player, but I've never been that impressed by his defensive rebounding. Jackson as well, given the Nets' abominable point guard situation.

FIRST QUARTER

  • Lopez is exactly the kind of center that would absolutely torch Drummond his first couple seasons in the league - thinking tonight will be another piece of evidence of Andre's growth as a player.
  • SVG really shouldn't be letting Stanley Johnson take contested threes from the elbow early in the shot clock.
  • Really cold shooting to open this one for Detroit- 0-for-5. The Nets just turn everything into a slog.
  • Andre's mobility is really incredible.
  • Awesome ball movement around the perimeter leads to an easy three for Jackson. That's what separates one spread pick-and-roll from another - having guys who can make those touch passes without stopping the ball until it reaches the open man. Kelser's right- Pistons got to 16 points from 0 in a hurry.
  • Drummond got three buckets in a row just cutting down the middle of the lane.
  • The Nets are one of the only teams in the league where you routinely see three or more guys inside the arc on offense.
  • And now the Nets can't dribble. KCP and Drummond with back-to-back steals. Just too many bodies in the areas they're trying to drive.
  • Grand Rapids Drive alumni Willie Reed into the game for Brooklyn.
  • Pistons points in the paint = 18. Nets total points = 17.
  • I can't unsee how obnoxiously huge the Pistons' center-court logo is ever since Zach Lowe mentioned it. It just doesn't look good.
  • Five assists for Reggie already. He's just too big, fast, and rangy for these Brooklyn PGs.
  • Pistons 13-of-17 since their 0-for-5 start.
  • Chorus of kids chanting "airball" at Reed but Hilliard fumbles the rebound and Reed scores on the ensuing possession.
  • Pistons look spry and quick against the slowest team in the league that's coming off a back-to-back. This one could already be over. 33-23 Detroit.
SECOND QUARTER
  • Thaddeus Young often looks like a good player to me but I'm unsure of what his role would ever be on a good team as a non-shooting, non-rim protecting undersized four. Would probably have to be a bench guy.
  • Blaha calls Willie Reed a "youngster" and Thomas Robinson a "veteran" when Reed is 25 and Robinson is 24.
  • Pistons had a great run in the first with Hilliard on the floor, but he's looking like a rookie out there without a doubt.
  • If the argument is that Spencer Dinwiddie deserves garbage-time minutes over Steve Blake, there need to actually be garbage-time minutes. Pistons have let the Nets back into it with second-chance points.
  • Stanley! PASS!
  • Horrible sequence by both teams. Bogdanovich misses everything with a midranger. Stanley calls for a three and misses badly. Robinson bricks a midranger with Larkin standing wide open in the corner, and then the Nets can't get back on defense.
  • The Nets just can't expect to score when the Pistons can viably defend in the half-court with four guys in the paint.
  • Drummond with 15, Jackson with 14. Pistons leading 56-46 at the half.
THIRD QUARTER
  • I don't really care how good his first half was, Kelser and Blaha are not going to make me scared of Donald Sloan.
  • Stanley Johnson has been horrible in this game, but Joe Johnson just cannot do anything on offense against him.
  • KCP has a strong lower-body considering his slight frame. Young couldn't back him down.
  • Not sure what happened there. Ilyasova called for the pass and then looked like he wasn't ready for it.
  • Pistons really struggle on defense when Drummond isn't able to get back after missing at the rim.
  • I'm not old-school by any means but I love the jumper off the high glass.
  • This is somehow a five-point game. I can't explain it.
  • Hilliard just driving into traffic with no discernible goal or plan.
  • Ilyasova bails the Pistons out with a three. What a huge shot. Might actually go into the fourth with a real lead now.
  • Not a quarter to tell your friends about, Pistons outscored 20-16, scoring less than half of their output from the first.
FOURTH QUARTER
  • Stanley must be watching Morris and thinking his job replacing him in the starting lineup is just to hoist contested shots.
  • Would like to see the Pistons put Andre in pick-and-roll more to ice this game. Nets haven't been able to stop it. May as well run it until they prove they can.
  • Jennings basically saved Tolliver's career last year and it looks like they still have some chemistry as he hits  another three.
  • Baynes probably outweighs Reed by 30 or 40. Not a terrible idea to get him the ball if he has that deep post positioning.
  • Hilliard with a nice dunk there.
  • Kelser's right - Johnson has had a terrible shooting day, but they're continuously dumping him the ball with the shot clock winding down.
  • Hilliard may be redeeming his performance here in the fourth- there's a three-point play.
  • Pistons pulling away. 92-76. Brooklyn just doesn't have answers offensively for what the Pistons are doing.
  • Reggie connects on a three and now has 18 points and eight assists.
  • Aron Baynes with seven points, five rebounds, and 27 run-fingers-through-hairs.
  • Not a perfect game for the Pistons, but they were dominant when they needed to be.