By Ian Parfrey @Ianparfrey
NETS 119 at PISTONS 82
- IT WAS OVER WHEN: Deron Williams scored 14 of his 31 points in the first quarter as the Nets built a 36-23 lead. The Pistons were never able to inject an iota of “Will they come back?” tension into this one.
- TURNING POINT: Old Man Stackhouse made his first appearance since January 26. In the second quarter, he made a pair of baseline fallaways, and a tough driving layup. He finished with 10 points on 5-6 FG, and 3 assists, in 19 minutes. The Pistons were understandably terrified. And I told you so.
- GAME BALL GOES TO: Deron, who scored 31 points (10-18 FG, 4-8 3PT) in 28 minutes, and completely dominated Jose Calderon and Will Bynum.
- WHO’S HEATING UP: On a night like this, almost everyone. Besides Deron and Stack, Mirza Teletovic made all 4 of his shots. Reggie Evans continued his recent free-throw streak, going 4-4 from the line. He’s now 11 for his last 14.
- WHO’S COOLING DOWN: Crash Wallace scored 2 points on 1-4 FG. His only basket was an early two-handed dunk trailing Deron Williams on a fast break. Wallace hasn’t made a three-pointer in his last 7 games (0-13 since March 2), and is now shooting under 40%, from anywhere, for the season. May I suggest trying the mid-range pullup that everyone gives him, since they know a wild flailing layup attempt is coming every time he puts it on the floor? Or a floater, or a hook shot, or anything slightly creative?
- CONCERNING STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Pistons should be concerned, let’s put it that way. They shot 1-18 from downtown, and other than a nice game from Greg Monroe (17 points, 8-10 FG), the rest of the team shot 38%.
- BENCH MOB PRODUCTIONS: Andray Blatche had 15 points and 8 rebounds, but did most of his damage with the game already in the bag. MarShon Brooks had 10 points, including a 4-point play in the second quarter.
- UP NEXT: A national TV tilt with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
So the Nets took care of business against an inferior team, and moved within a half-game of the Knicks for the division lead. The Knicks, or what’s left of them anyway, are in Utah tonight against the Jazz. The Nets could have a share of first place by late tonight.
Deron, making ‘em pay from his favorite spot.
Photo by @LolitaLens.
The Nets brought a lot of early intensity, kept the Pistons from getting good looks at the basket, and turned that into easy makes on their own end. P.J. Carlesimo played the starters for the entire first quarter, built a 13-point lead, and the bench maintained it in the second quarter. It was a textbook example of how to conduct a successful blowout.
The Pistons have lost 9 in a row, and 12 of their last 13. Since they lost rookie center Andre Drummond to a back injury, this is a team that appears to be very short on both talent and enthusiasm. Tonight, backup point guard Will Bynum helped illustrate how statistics can be deceptive– he routinely overdribbled and ignored open teammates to set up 20-foot jump shots for himself, yet finished with 18 points and 6 assists. Ex-Net coach Lawrence Frank is in NBA purgatory, and it isn’t the nice one described in “Dante’s Inferno.”
Meanwhile, the Nets are moving in the opposite direction, and if the Knicks’ free fall continues tonight, the Nets will be “going to the place that’s the best.”
UPDATE: The Knicks gutted out a 90-83 win in Utah, and remain in first place. Scoreboard watching season is here!