Brooklyn Nets vs. Detroit Pistons: Pre-Game Report 11/2/16

Oct 6, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) takes a shot while being defended by Detroit Pistons guard Ish Smith (14) during the second half at Barclays Center. The Nets won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Brooklyn Nets‘ first full month of basketball, and they play host to the Detroit Pistons who are on the second half of a back-to-back.

It’s been a wild start to the season for the Nets, who sit at just 1-3 after been shellacked by the Chicago Bulls 118-88 on Monday night. Prior to the drubbing handed out on their home floor, the Nets looked competitive in all their previous games, and even their losses came by slim margins.

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As expected, Jeremy Lin has been thriving, for the most part, and Trevor Booker has emerged as one of the Nets’ most important players because of his ability to defend and rebound the basketball. Centerpiece Brook Lopez has looked lost in the NBA’s fifth-quickest offense; Sean Kilpatrick (14.8 points per game), and Bojan Bogdanovic (16.5 points per game) have picked up the slack and are developing nicely.

Detroit, who pounded the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks in their last two games, are getting more than expected from Tobias Harris. The 6’9″ J-Cole look-alike is pouring in 18.7 points per game on 56 percent shooting and is doing a great job making up for the injured Reggie Jackson.

Of course, Andre Drummond is still terrorizing defenses and swallowing up rebounds, and he’s knocking down a career-high 50 percent of his free throws.

Marcus Morris is another guy who looks at home in Detroit despite poor shooting numbers, and the 27-year-old forward is averaging 15 points and 7.3 rebounds in 32 minutes per game.

Oct 6, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brooks Lopez (11) plays the ball while being defended by and Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Nets’ Keys To Victory

Box Out, Box Out, Box Out

Put three bodies on Drummond if necessary, just keep that man off the glass. With 16.3 rebounds a night, Drummond will have a field day if Brooklyn doesn’t take extra precautions on the backboards. This translates to offense just as much. Trevor Booker, Brooklyn’s best rebounder, can’t man the defensive boards by himself, and Drummond’s shear size and power will only add to that issue.

As much as Brooklyn likes to get out and run, they need to pick their spots and have four — maybe five — guys crash the boards on every Pistons shot.

Guys like Brook Lopez and Justin Hamilton are going to need their hands on deck for this matchup. They are atrocious rebounders for seven-footers, but the size helps and it’ll at least make it tougher for the Pistons to snag easy boards.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is another guy who’ll be needed and he brings a more athletic approach to rebounding. Moreover, he can haul in the rebound and immediate start the fast break if the situation allows it.

Take Advantage Of Pistons’ Fatigue

Sometimes, you have to do whatever it takes to win. If that means pushing the pace on a team playing the second game of a back-to-back, so be it. Naturally, the Pistons are going to be more tired than the Nets because they don’t have that full day off. They take on the New York Knicks Tuesday night and it’s not a game Detroit can coast through.

Brooklyn’s pace should be normal on Wednesday and fewer pick-and-roll plays would be advantageous. The preseason offense — heavy ball movement — should be the go-to in order to get the defense rotating, and defenses that rotate work harder than ones who don’t.

Plus, it’s worked pretty decently through the start of the young season, and each game is a way for the guys to become more comfortable with each other on the floor.

Get Lopez Involved

A franchise centerpiece, Lopez is averaging just 23 minutes per contest this year. The volume is about the same, though, and this would be the game to get the former Stanford standout back on track. His skill hasn’t diminished, and the coaching staff is keeping his minutes lower than usual to avoid any unnecessary strain.

He took Myles Turner to school when the Nets played the Pacers, and his footwork and post prowess will give Drummond a hard time on the block.

Players To Watch:

  • Nets: Bojan Bogdanovic – 16.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 48.9 FG%, 35 3FG% in four games
  • Pistons: Andre Drummond – 20 points, 23 rebounds, three blocks vs MIL on 10/30/16

Oct 6, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker (35) attempts to block a shot by Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starting Lineups

Nets: 

Pistons:

Injuries

Nets:

Pistons:

Matchup To Watch

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson vs. Tobias Harris

A great defender going man-to-man against a great offensive player is the only thing that makes isolation basketball fun to watch. In this instance, RHJ hasn’t returned as the lockdown defender he was as a rookie, and Harris has been sensational through the Pistons’ first three games. He’s burying shots from all over, and Hollis-Jefferson is going to have to rise to the challenge and prevent a big night from Detroit’s best scorer. If he can keep Harris under control, his confidence will elevate.

Telecast Info

YES Network will be broadcasting the game at 7:30 PM EST. Join the conversation by tweeting @NetsBlogFS.

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