The team from the Motor City enter the night looking to make amends for their pitiful 150-130 shellacking at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. After giving up a season-high 49 first quarter points — two shy from the NBA’s record — Detroit should be eager to set the tone defensively.
After being dealt one of the league's more unfavourable schedules—the Paris Game resulted in a front-loaded calendar—the Pistons will travel to Brooklyn with two days of rest, while the Nets play for the second night in as many nights.
When: 7:30 pm ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +9
3 Things to watch:
1. Interior battle between Claxton and Duren
Halfway through his fourth year in the NBA, the 23-year-old Claxton is having a career-best season. The wiry big-man out of Georgia has quickly ascended to one of the league’s top rim protectors. Entering the 2022-23 campaign, many were concerned with Brooklyn’s ability to defend, particularly on the interior as Claxton was the rosters only true center.
Through 43 games, Claxton has been a complete deterrent in the painted area, swatting 2.7 shots a game, with opponents shooting a lowly 51% inside 6-feet of the basket, per NBA.com.
His defensive aptitude is a major catalyst for the Nets currently residing 8th (!!!) in defensive efficiency, a crazy stat considering the conversation surrounding the team prior to December.
It will be interesting to see how Claxton handles Detroit’s 6-foot-11 rookie, Jalen Duren. At 215 lbs, Claxton isn’t able to out muscle his match-up on the glass with the ease like Duren. In their December meeting, Duren outmuscled Claxton, hauling in 11 rebounds and finishing the game with a team-high plus/minus of +13.
2. Jaden Ivey’s playmaking
There were few positives to come out of the miserable Bucks defeat, but Jaden Ivey notching a career-high 11 assists was one of them.
Pacing in the half-court has been an issue for Ivey in the early going, especially when tasked as the primary initiator. But, in Monday’s contest, he displayed a renewed patience with ball in hand and was able to hit his teammates with on-time delivery:
The Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren pick-and-roll worked a treat, with Ivey finding his rookie counter-part multiple times on his roll to the basket.
After a few months in the pros, Monday’s performance could be a sign of the game slowing down for Ivey. Or maybe the Bucks were simply playing lax defense, either way it was encouraging to see the 21 year-old distributing dimes with Jrue Holiday as his defender.
3. Kyrie Irving’s offensive wizardry
In one of the more frustrating seasons in recent memory, anytime the Pistons are matched against a premiere offensive talent, it’s a reason to watch. Since returning from suspension in late-November, Brooklyn’s controversial All Star guard, Kyrie Irving, is has returned to his prolific scoring self.
In his past 27-games, Irving is scoring 27 points a game on near 50-40-90 shooting splits, a crazy feat considering the high degree of difficulty in many of Irvings shot attempts.
On top of the efficient scoring, Irving is playing the best defense of his career. Since assuming the reins from former Nets coach, Steve Nash, Jacque Vaughn has done an excellent job of putting Irving in positions to succeed defensively. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Nets are 4.1 points worse per 100 possessions when Irving sits.
Though Kevin Durant is the engine which powers the majority of Brooklyn’s success, Irving’s offensive brilliance and attentiveness to defense is a significant factor in the Nets sitting 4th in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit Pistons (12-37)
Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey, Jalen Duren
Brooklyn Nets (29-17)
Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Royce O’neale, Ben Simmons, Nicolas Claxton
Question of the Day
Unrelated to tonight’s game, but what you give up in a trade for OG Anunoby?