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Pistons vs. Nets final score: Pistons fall to Nets' first-half shooting heroics

Great second half isn't enough to save Pistons from their first-half defensive woes.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

A strong second half couldn't keep the Pistons out of the loss column on Wednesday night, as they fell 109-101 to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center to drop to 3-2.

The Pistons came into the game averaging just over 90 points allowed per game, one of the best figures in the league, and promptly allowed 71 first-half points to one of the league's worst offensive teams. The Nets were shooting 71 percent at the half. In particular, the relatively conservative Detroit defensive scheme was not able to handle Brook Lopez's newfound shooting range.

Lopez finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds, and Sean Kilpatrick scored 24 points and went 4-of-4 from deep off the bench.

The Pistons defense stepped it up like crazy in the second half, and actually almost came back for the win. They only allowed 38 second-half points, and the Nets were extremely ineffective against second unit-heavy lineups.

Marcus Morris made huge shot after huge shot for the Pistons, scoring 23 points, and Tobias Harris continued his excellent start to the season by also scoring 23 efficient points.

Not as much of a highlight was Andre Drummond's performance, as he went 3-of-9 for six points, hardly played in the second half, and was repeatedly burned by Lopez outside of one nice defensive series with two blocks. At least tonight, the Pistons were more effective with Aron Baynes in the game, and for the first time this season we got to see Stan Van Gundy close with offseason acquisition Jon Leuer at center.

It almost worked, but Trevor Booker's chasedown block in the waning seconds silenced any chance of a dramatic last-second win for the Pistons.

This game was also blacked out midway through, saving a lot of Pistons fans the stress of a near-comeback.

Running observations from the game:

  • Here we go...the moment we've all been waiting for, Pistons vs. Nets. I hope to not just devolve into World Series Game 7 commentary.
  • As mentioned by the preview, I'm most worried today about Brook Lopez abusing Drummond in the post or getting him in foul trouble. Andre has not proven he can stay on his feet against these skilled centers.
  • I also think Justin Hamilton could pose a problem to the Pistons' lumbering center rotation with his shooting, much like he did in the preseason. But Detroit should be able to make a lot of that back against him on the offensive glass...he's not an NBA-caliber athlete.

First Quarter

  • Jeremy Lin continues to be underrated, as far as I can tell. He got significantly less than starter money in this ridiculous cap environment, must have really wanted to start.
  • I continue to love the Nets colors, arena, pretty much everything about their presentation minus the basketball.
  • Drummond has to body down in the rare instance where he has a mismatch. He just threw up a hook and avoided contact with Hollis-Jefferson, no point to that.
  • 11-5 Brooklyn and SVG takes a timeout....Smith looks bad but I think it was just a bad bounce or two. Nets should have much worse spacing than they do right now considering they start three non-three-point shooters.
  • Marcus Morris is a willing passer in some cases, but he gets the tunnel vision. You can tell once he's made up his mind he's shooting and consequences be damned.
  • The good news is the Nets cannot make 100% of their shots for the entire game.
  • Terrible turnover by Lopez, KCP looks like the only Piston who came to play.
  • 14 points for Lopez, 17 for the Pistons. You think Andre will ever realize you can't keep leaving Lopez alone in the corner?
  • With Lopez and Hamilton in the game Harris should be unstoppable. Neither of those guys can remotely stay in front of him.
  • This Brooklyn team is way too slow to keep up with the Pistons in transition. KCP gets a warmup corner three to cut the lead to 1.
  • Ah yes, the Luis Scola-led fast break. Just what I was expecting. Something something haircuts.
  • Pistons pick-and-rolls aren't accomplishing anything. Drummond isn't getting involved on the rolls to the hoop and nobody has to respect Smith or Udrih as a shooter. It's probably still more effective than what the Nets can force, but it's not bending the defense.

Second Quarter

  • I wonder what Ish Smith's 40 time is. He's actually unnervingly fast.
  • Pistons just look really stiff. Defenders are jumping out at non-shooters on the three-point line and giving up easy buckets as a result. Also not defending the corners on the actually good shooters.
  • Big three by Leuer there to cut the lead to eight.
  • I understand they're decent players and everything but this Baynes/Leuer frontcourt is just goofy as all hell and Udrih is not helping anything.
  • Detroit has exponentially more strength than the Nets, good to see Morris and Drummond utilizing that to get free throws.
  • The Nets are shooting the lights out and that won't continue, but at the same time the Pistons aren't doin anything to help themselves.
  • Baynes is a vastly inferior Drummond with competent free throw shooting, Leuer at least allows the offense to have some different looks and capabilities. Not sure why he's not getting more run at center.
  • Welp, 8-0 run and I'm not sure isolating Stanley against two guys on the perimeter is the way to stop it.
  • Pistons do not seem prepared at all for Lopez's three-point shooting. Surely they remembered it from the preseason, right?
  • Drummond 1 rebound in 12 minutes, 1-of-6 from the field, -5.
  • Was thinking Lin might flip that backwards like he did for the #SCNotTop10 in the dice, but he still missed it.
  • I just didn't see it with Joe Harris, but he looks like a real NBA player at least tonight. Shooting will almost always play.
  • We have really just given up 71 first-half points to Brooklyn. They've really gotten whatever they wanted. The narrative of "the Pistons will put away bad teams this year" is taking a bit of a beating. I still think this is just an outlier game, but yeah.
  • Lopez with 24 points at the half, 4-out-of-5 on threes. He could really revolutionize his career if this deep shooting stuff is real.
  • Third Quarter

    • I don't think the Pistons will just punt this game but it's going to become garbage time pretty quick if they don't make a bit of a run.
    • KCP and Tobias looking good out of the break, but Lopez remains unconscious.
    • Morris buries the tough three and this game I've been tuning out is somehow almost a single-digit deficit.
    • They overturned his three, so he just hits another. Nine-point game!
    • Whitehead looks like...the headshot of an NFL running back or something. A young Frank Gore?
    • Pistons are still really struggling with defending the five guys out on the perimeter. Almost always have multiple guys on the floor who are uncomfortable defending in space. I'll make another call for Leuer at center.
    • Did waiving Udrih save the Heat a bunch of money or something? It honestly seems like they could've used him.
    • Interesting double-screen by Baynes and Leuer - really trying to get the space for these PGs to operate.
    • Fluky shooting, but it won't change the outcome of this game at least. Nets at 63% from three.
    • If they can't come back I'm sure Drummond will be the whipping boy - he's been bad, but none of the other bigs have been particularly enticing an alternative.

    Fourth Quarter

    • I'm not expecting him to dominate the touches or hoist a bunch of shots but Stanley Johnson has been largely invisible so far this year.
    • Baynes looking to....pop the Whitehead? Squeeze it? Nah, that's not working.
    • Blah blah blah boring tough guy stuff with Baynes and Booker. Guys bein' dudes.
    • What in the world are they reviewing here? Was it some kind of flagrant?
    • Morris scores five in a row, cuts the lead to six.
    • I'm not even sure how this is a six-point game now. Nets' offense has grinded to a halt, I suppose. Pistons D needs credit as well. 21 third-quarter points after 71 at the half.
    • Feels like Udrih and Baynes have been out there for the entire second half even though they haven't. Wouldn't be surprised if SVG closed with those two but he's running out of time to get them rest.
    • Pistons could damn well win this game as Morris heads to the line with a chance to cut the lead to four.
    • Pistons have given up practically nothing in the second half, really impressive especially considering how easy it would be to just be done with this one particular game.
    • I got my Leuer at center fully expecting it to fail and make me look stupid.
    • Kilpatrick hits the huge three after a couple really nice defensive possessions by the Pistons.
    • Hard to even describe how huge Morris has been in this game - would be a shame if it went to waste.
    • Nets clinging to the five-point lead with the ball heading into the last 90 seconds.
    • What a chase-down block by Booker- probably erases the hope for the Pistons.
    • KCP really wants to draw that charge 35 feet from the basket.