Pistons, Nets bring frustrations into matchup
For various reasons, the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets are experiencing frustration from recent games.
Detroit is upset with its defensive results of late, especially on the road. Brooklyn is disappointed about losing two close home games to two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Pistons will attempt to stop a five-game road losing streak by improving their defense and the Nets will try to make enough plays to get a win Wednesday night when the teams get together at Barclays Center in New York.
Detroit (21-18) is 8-13 on the road, which is the worst road mark of any team in the East. The Pistons are allowing 101.4 points and 46.9 percent shooting during this skid while getting doomed by bad quarters.
The skid began with a 110-93 loss at Dallas on Dec. 20 when Detroit allowed 43 points in the second quarter. Then came a 33-point first quarter at Orlando on Dec. 28 followed by allowing the Miami Heat to shoot 51 percent in a seven-point loss a week ago and falling behind by 40 in a 114-78 loss at Philadelphia on Friday.
If those outings annoyed coach Stan Van Gundy, then what unfolded Monday in New Orleans infuriated him. The Pistons allowed the Pelicans to shoot 68 percent in the first quarter, 62.5 percent in the third and 57.9 percent in the fourth.
"We've lost five straight on the road and all of them have been horrendous defensive effort, every one of them," Van Gundy said. "Pathetic defensive effort. I don't think our effort is close to good."
Van Gundy's comments occurred after the Pistons allowed a combined 50 points to New Orleans big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins along with 68 points in the paint. During the last five road games, opponents are shooting 58.9 percent in the paint for 238 points.
"It's definitely our focus," Detroit forward Tobias Harris told the team's official website. "Our focus and our mindset. When we're on the road, we can't play backed off. We've got to bring the heat to whoever we're playing, so it's going to be our mindset and it's going to be what we need to bring to the next game -- that focus that we need to get stops and really impose our will from the start."
Harris scored 25 points Monday and is averaging 21.5 points in his last eight games. Avery Bradley added 24 and was 10 of 23 in his best game since returning from a seven-game absence because of a groin injury.
The Nets (15-25) are 3-3 in their last six games after losing eight of 10 from Dec. 9to Dec. 27. Brooklyn's last five games were decided by three points or less, marking the first instance in franchise history and the first instance since the San Antonio Spurs in 2012-13.
Brooklyn lost a three-point game in Boston on Dec. 31, posted a three-point win vs. Orlando the following night and a two-point win over Minnesota last Wednesday. On Saturday, the Nets were handed an 87-85 loss to Boston and Monday rallied from 10 points down in the final 4 1/2 minutes of regulation only to fall 114-113 in overtime to the Toronto Raptors.
Brooklyn is 8-7 in games decided by five points or less after Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 of his career-high 31 points in overtime. Dinwiddie is averaging 25.7 points on 49.1 percent shooting (26 of 53) from the field in his last three games.
Dinwiddie also is getting frustrated with the officiating. His frustration reached its breaking point Monday when he was tripped up on a potential game-winning drive in overtime and was caught by television cameras saying, "That's what I'm talking about" when a foul was not called.
"You all saw the game," Dinwiddie said. "All these plays, we have to do better as a unit because obviously that's what it takes to win these games.
Allen Crabbe scored 20 points and hit the tying basket in regulation. Crabbe also was injured on his drive and is doubtful with a sore left shin.
"I just came down pretty awkward on my left leg, but I'll be alright. Other than that, it just (stinks) that I missed most of overtime and couldn't be out there to help get a win with my team. But I loved the effort tonight. I feel like we're going in the right direction, and we just need to continue to build off a miss."
Also injured for the Nets are Nik Stauskas and DeMarre Carroll. Stauskas is questionable with a sprained left ankle. Carroll will miss his second straight game with a sore left shin.
Updated January 9, 2018