Pistons’ Inside-Outside Game Too Much For Struggling Nets
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Greg Monroe and the Detroit Pistons were on the right side of this blowout.
Monroe had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Pistons routed the New Jersey Nets 109-92 Friday night for their fourth straight victory. Detroit has lost seven games by at least 20 points this season, but this equaled the team’s most lopsided win.
The Pistons are on their longest winning streak since a five-game run in December 2009.
“Our guys have a good rhythm,” Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. “We have to continue to raise the bar, continue to do better, but we’re playing with a good rhythm and a good spirit.”
Detroit (8-20) spotted the Nets seven straight points to start the game, then answered with a 12-0 run. Jonas Jerebko scored 20 points for the Pistons and Rodney Stuckey added 19.
Johan Petro scored 16 points for New Jersey (8-20), which lost its fifth straight.
“I didn’t pay any attention to the score,” Petro said. “I just tried to work hard on both ends of the floor and get something positive out of a bad night for the team.”
After falling behind 7-0, the Pistons began asserting themselves inside. Monroe had a pair of tip-ins to give Detroit a 12-7 lead, and Stuckey began hurting the Nets with his ability to finish around the basket.
Monroe finished 8 of 9 from the field and Stuckey was 7 of 10. Detroit shot 54 percent and enjoyed a 56-32 advantage in the paint. The Pistons led by as many as 30 in the third quarter.
“We were getting stops, and it led to easy buckets for us,” Stuckey said. “We were getting out on the break a lot and getting easy baskets, but mainly it was defense.”
The injury-plagued Nets did get some good news when rookie MarShon Brooks was able to play for the first time since Jan. 29. He’d been out with a broken toe on his right foot. Brooks scored seven points.
New Jersey was still without Brook Lopez (broken right foot), Keith Bogans (left ankle), Damion James (right foot surgery), Mehmet Okur (sore lower back) and DeShawn Stevenson (sore right knee).
“We got off to a good start — we were up 7-0 — but they took control,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “They were hitting on every cylinder, and we didn’t execute on either end.”
The Pistons led 24-15 after the first quarter and 52-33 at halftime. They didn’t let up in the third. Rookie Brandon Knight made a 3-pointer to push the lead to 28, and Monroe’s dunk made it 78-48.
“The Pistons have some confidence right now, and we have to get our confidence back,” Johnson said. “In games like this, that makes a big difference.”
Monroe was averaging 3.9 offensive rebounds per game coming into the night, and the second-year big man was more than the Nets could handle down low. He finished with five of Detroit’s 15 offensive rebounds.
“We probably literally ran three plays for him, and we didn’t score on any of those three,” Frank said. “But he scored on offensive rebounds, rim runs, drive-and-dishes. You just figure it out.”
Ben Gordon contributed 14 points for the Pistons, and Knight added 13.
New Jersey’s Deron Williams and Jordan Farmar scored 14 points apiece.
NOTES: Detroit also beat New Jersey on Wednesday night in the first game of a home-and-home. … Ben Wallace missed two free throws in the fourth quarter. It was his first trip to the line this season — in his 27th game. … New Jersey went 5 of 19 from 3-point range. Anthony Morrow, who entered the game shooting 44 percent from long distance, missed all five of his attempts. … Detroit G Will Bynum played for the first time since Jan. 13. He’d been out with a right foot problem.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)