National Basketball Association
Nets-Pistons Preview
National Basketball Association

Nets-Pistons Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 10:42 p.m. ET

The Detroit Pistons are coming off a hard-fought win to move into a virtual tie for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

They have a quick turnaround with the Brooklyn Nets visiting The Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday night, but playing on consecutive days hasn't been a problem for the Pistons lately.

After opening a franchise-long nine-game homestand with Wednesday's 118-114 loss to Atlanta, Detroit (35-34) bounced back with a 115-108 win over Sacramento on Friday. Detroit got off to a sizzling start, scoring a season-high 39 first-quarter points to lead by 14 after 12 minutes but the Kings roared back from 18 down to tie things up in the fourth but were never able to pull ahead.

''It's a good win. It doesn't matter how the game goes,'' Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. ''In this league a lot of times, the team who loses but comes back from like 21 down gets praised more than the team who wins. ... I'll keep taking 21-point leads. That would be good.''


The tight game meant starters Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson all played more minutes than their season averages, but the increased workloads might not matter

The Pistons, who moved percentage points behind eighth-place Chicago, have won the second game of their last five back-to-backs. While two of those victories came over a pair of also-rans in New York and Philadelphia, they've also knocked off the East's two best teams in Toronto and Cleveland. While the Raptors rested Kyle Lowry, the Cavaliers were at full strength.

This is the first time they've reeled off five straight wins in the second half of back-to-backs in a single season since a six-game run in 2007.

Detroit's offense has also been firing on all cylinders in the last three such games, averaging 120.7 points on 54.5 percent shooting - 52.4 percent from 3-point range.

Jackson is averaging 23.4 points and has made 11 of 20 from beyond the arc during this winning streak while Morris has scored 19 in each of the last two. Morris, who is averaging 13.9 points, scored 20 and made all 6 3-point attempts in Friday's first half. He finished with 24 while Caldwell-Pope scored 23.

In his last five games, Caldwell-Pope is averaging 22.4 points - 7.6 better than his season average.

''He's been playing really, really well. He really has, at both ends,'' Van Gundy said. ''You've got to hand it to him. He's been our most consistent player of late, and he's on a good run right now.''

Another big offensive performance seems likely given Brooklyn's defensive woes. Since March 4, the Nets (19-49) are allowing an East-worst 113.1 points per game and a league-worst 50.4 percent shooting.

In Wednesday's 118-102 loss at Chicago, Brooklyn fell behind by as much as 24 before pulling within four early in the fourth but could get no closer.

''That's all effort,'' interim coach Tony Brown said. ''Our intensity level picked up''

Bojan Bogdanovic led the comeback with 26 points, two nights after scoring a career-high 44 in a 131-114 victory over the 76ers.

Losers of four straight on the road and 13 of 16 away from Brooklyn, the Nets have dropped 14 of 17 at The Palace.

The Pistons have won two of three against Brooklyn this season, with Andre Drummond averaging 21.3 points and 15.7 rebounds.

Detroit has totaled 152 points in the paint in this season's matchups with the Nets, who are allowing an average of 46.7 points in the paint, second-worst in the NBA.


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