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Nets Clamp Down On Defense In 4th, Escape Detroit With A Rare Win

Brooklyn Finishes With 5 In Double Figures, Holds On For 93-90 Victory
Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson walk off the court in the final seconds against the Atlanta Hawks (credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson walk off the court. (credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Brook Lopez backed Greg Monroe down and calmly scored with a shot off the glass.

After an impressive but incomplete performance the previous night, the Brooklyn center put together a solid finish in this one.

Lopez’s shot with 17.8 seconds remaining gave the Nets a three-point lead, and they held on for a 93-90 victory against the Pistons on Wednesday that was their first win at Detroit since 2006. Lopez scored 30 points Tuesday night in a loss to the Lakers, but he wasn’t thrilled with the way he played in the final minutes.

His outlook was much different Wednesday.

“Tonight, we were great in the last three-to-five minutes,” Lopez said. “I was just in the mindset that I wanted to go strong — but more importantly, make the right play. … It stayed single coverage. So, you want to be aggressive and be strong.”

Monroe’s layup with 10.4 seconds left cut the lead to one, and Detroit went for a quick trap off the inbound pass. But the Pistons were called for a foul, and Joe Johnson made both free throws.

Will Bynum’s tying 3-point attempt from the right corner was short in the final seconds.

“There were many opportunities and controlled situations and we didn’t do a very good job,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “All those things add up. We had opportunities at the rim and didn’t convert.”

Lopez scored 17 points and Johnson added 16 for Brooklyn.

Detroit led by 13 in the second quarter, but the Pistons were only ahead 46-40 at halftime, and they were held to 17 points in the fourth quarter. Monroe led Detroit with 23 points.

“They went small and we should’ve stuck to our strong point and pushed the ball,” Detroit forward Jason Maxiell said.

The Nets had lost 10 in a row to the Pistons on the road.

Brooklyn improved to 18-1 this season when facing a team under .500.

Neither team could take control in the fourth quarter, but the Nets went 12 for 14 at the line in the period. Lopez put Brooklyn ahead 91-88 with his bank shot.

“The execution was really good,” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “We took advantage of the fact that we were in the bonus early and then down the stretch, I am sure there was a possession we did not, but we either got a good shot or got fouled.”

Jose Calderon had eight points and nine assists in his first home game since being traded to Detroit last week.

Reggie Evans had 10 points and 14 rebounds for Brooklyn, which took advantage of a weakened Detroit interior. Pistons rookie Andre Drummond played less than five minutes because of a sore back.

Deron Williams had 12 points and nine assists for the Nets, surpassing the 5,000-assist mark for his career.

Brooklyn never led by more than three.

“I definitely give all the credit to our bench,” Johnson said. “Those guys came in, pretty much brought us back, held the lead.”

The Pistons have lost five of six. Detroit had not lost at home to the Nets since March 26, 2006.

NOTES: The Pistons lost at Brooklyn in double overtime in December on a buzzer-beater by Johnson. … Carlesimo entered the game 14-6 as Nets coach, the second-best start in franchise history through 20 games. The leader is Frank, who went 16-4. … Monroe shot an air ball on a second-quarter free throw, but he was outdone by Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic, who failed to draw iron on three straight shots from the field in the second half. … All five starters scored in double figures for the Nets.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)