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Friday, February 7, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pistons 111, Nets 95

By Mike Mazzeo

The Brooklyn Nets sure know how to ruin a Friday night.

Playing in the second game of a back-to-back set without Kevin Garnett (rest), the lethargic-looking Nets got demolished by the athletic and energetic Detroit Pistons 111-95 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

What it means: Big > Small. With Garnett out, the smaller Nets (22-26) were manhandled inside by the bigger Pistons (20-29). Josh Smith had 23 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 blocks. Andre Drummond added 16 points and 22 rebounds, while Greg Monroe chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.

Detroit is 3-0 against Brooklyn this season. Brandon Jennings (26 points, 9 assists, 10 rebounds, 8 turnovers) flirted with a triple-double.

The Pistons won basically every single statistical category: field-goal shooting percentage (51.2 to 36.0), assists (26 to 17), points in the paint (52 to 38), rebounds (57 to 40) and fast-break points (28 to 16).

The Nets, who trailed by as many as 29, had just one assist in the first 17:19 and missed 14 of their first 15 3-point attempts. Stagnant offense. Stagnant results.

A 15-0 Pistons run in the second quarter turned a 22-17 game into a 37-17 blowout. It was just bookkeeping from there.

Deron Williams (10 points in 25 minutes) failed to record an assist for the first time since Nov. 15 in Phoenix -- but he only played five minutes in that game before leaving with an injury, so it was really Feb. 1, 2006, against Denver.

Nets coach Jason Kidd pulled his starters with 7:28 left in the third quarter. They combined for just 42 points. Joe Johnson did score 16 points on 4-for-7 shooting from 3-point range, so at least that might be good for his personal confidence.

Brooklyn surrendered 67 points in the first half -- the most it has surrendered in any half this season. They trailed by 23 after 24 minutes -- the fifth time they’ve trailed by 20 or more points this season. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers have done worse (six), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Yeah, this felt like a November or December game.

In three losses to the Pistons, the Nets have allowed 168 points in the paint.

By starting Andray Blatche in place of Garnett, the Nets used their 19th different starting lineup this season.

One silver lining: The bench played well. Reggie Evans and Jason Terry, especially.

Up next: The Nets are off Saturday before hosting the New Orleans Pelicans Sunday night at Barclays Center.