It was an ugly game at the Barclays Center Sunday night when the Brooklyn Nets hosted the Detroit Pistons, as both teams shot an abysmal sub-40 percent from the field in the first three quarters. Despite the early struggles the Nets were able to inch out an 87-83 victory, the team’s third straight at home.
Brooklyn’s high-percentage free throw shooting was the difference in the ugly game on both sides. The consistent free throw shooting came in clutch when in the fourth quarter the Nets’ final four points came on free throws that sealed the victory.
The YES Network broadcast dubbed the game the battle of the ‘old school’ centers prior to the game and it was anything but that in the first half. Defensively the ‘old school’ battle was present, as Drummond shot 33 percent in the first half while Lopez connected on an abysmal 19 percent of his attempts.
Though he struggled to score on Drummond for the most part Lopez would fill up the stat sheet elsewhere to drive his team to victory. The Nets’ big man had one of the best defensive game of his career with season highs of six assists and four steals. Drummond shot just 18 percent from the line which ended up being the difference in the game. His inconsistent free throw shooting continues to haunt his team whenever they lose close games.
Coach Lionel Hollins is seeming to get Lopez to pass more this season, just as he did with Marc Gasol in Memphis. He had a season-high five assists on the game and has compiled his highest assist per game average since the 09’-10’ campaign.
Thaddeus Young led Brooklyn on the offensive side of the ball, shooting 75 percent on 19 points and 10 rebounds, to collect his seventh double-double of the season. To put that into perspective, he had five double-doubles over the entirety of last season.
Predictably Detroit focused on working the ball through Drummond as they had all season, but he was held to 33 percent shooting with seven points in the first half after being well defended by Lopez. His work on the glass was top notch per usual, collecting 18 boards - including 10 offensive rebounds - which allowed him to be more productive offensively with many second-chance looks. He finished the game with 20 points and 17 rebounds, and was the main culprit for the Nets allowing a season-high 19 offensive rebounds.
Reggie Jackson shot 20 percent from the field on 20 attempts and could be blamed for a bulk of the reason as to why his team lost where he had taken some really awful shot attempts and open shots just weren’t falling either. Its games like this where the Pistons miss Brandon Jennings.
On the night of his 28th birthday Wayne Ellington played his best game in a Nets uniform, scoring a season-high 12 points off the bench, seven of which came in the fourth quarter. Because of Ellington’s hot start in the fourth Hollins continued to play him throughout most of the quarter, causing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to take a seat on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.
Thanks to Ellington’s performance and an offensively resurgent Brook Lopez in a big fourth quarter, the Nets were able to just squeak by and save them the embarrassment of what was a terrible first half. Reggie Jackson’s poor shot selection also played a large part in allowing this Brooklyn team to get by with the win.
The Brooklyn Nets improve to 4-13 in the overall standings and 3-3 at home.