Pistons rout Nets for fourth straight victory

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — How well are things going for the Pistons right now?

Ben Wallace even made it to the free-throw line Friday night.

Wallace missed both shots — his first attempts of the season — but it didn’t really matter because the Pistons beat the New Jersey Nets, 109-92.

Detroit, which led by as many as 30, has now won four straight after a 4-20 start to the season.

The winning streak is the longest since 2009, and at least one veteran thinks it’s a matter of new players getting used to the league.

“We’re a very young team, and with a young team, chemistry takes a while,” Tayshaun Prince said. “I’ve seen improvement when teams make a run on us — we’ve been able to respond.

“We’ve played solid defense and attacked on offense. That’s opened up a lot of things for us.”

It didn’t take long before the Pistons had to respond to a run by the Nets, who scored the first seven points of the game. Less than nine minutes later, Detroit held a 23-11 lead.

“It started with our defense after that initial run,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “That let us get out into transition, and that opened up seams to get into the paint.”

Detroit dominated the Nets on the glass on both ends of the floor, leading to a 56-32 advantage on points in the paint.

Greg Monroe led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Jonas Jerebko scored 20 off the bench.

“You definitely get your easiest points in the paint,” Jerebko said. “That’s definitely our game plan — get into the paint and go from there.”

The Pistons also got scoring from their guards, with Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon combining for 46 points.

“I thought Rodney played very well on both ends,” Frank said. “Brandon got two early fouls, so we brought in Walker (Russell) and moved Rodney onto Deron Williams. He did a great job of taking that challenge.

The Pistons have now beaten the Nets twice in three days, averaging 104 points. Until Friday, Detroit hadn’t reached 100 points in regulation yet this season.

After the home-and-home games, both teams now have 8-20 records.

“They’ve got some confidence right now, and we’re trying to find our confidence,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “In a game like this, that makes a lot of difference.”

NOTES: Wallace had played 385 minutes this season before getting to the line on a foul by Jordan Williams. Wallace’s first shot barely hit the front of the rim, and the second bounced off to the side. He hasn’t made a shot from the line since last March. … Detroit’s 30-point lead in the third quarter was their biggest of the season. The 17-point victory margin matched a season high.