A pair of Eastern Conference teams battling for the final playoff spot take the floor in the Motor City. The Brooklyn Nets are on the road as they make the trip to face the Detroit Pistons Saturday night. Brooklyn was in action at home against the Lakers Thursday night in their last game, losing 128-113. Detroit squared off with Memphis in an interconference tilt at home on Friday night, losing 125-112. The Pistons own a 108-71 edge in the all-time regular season series between the teams, including a 113-109 home win in the first meeting between the teams this season on November 2, 2019.
Brooklyn Nets Trying to Maintain Hold on Playoff PositionBrooklyn was in action against the Lakers and suffered their fifth straight loss as they were unable to hang in the second half. The Nets entered Friday night fourth in the Atlantic Division, 11.5 games behind the Raptors for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team held the final playoff spot by two games over the Pistons. The Nets trailed by three after the opening quarter, by five at the half and by one with 50 seconds to play in the third quarter. Brooklyn gave up nine straight points to end the quarter down 10 as part of a 25-2 Lakers run over the next seven-plus minutes to put things away. The Nets shot 44 percent from the floor, including 21 of 46 from beyond the arc, but allowed the Lakers to shoot 50 percent from the field. Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn with 20 points in the loss.
The Nets enter this contest 18th in the league by averaging 109.4 points per game on the year. Brooklyn is second in the league in rebounding by pulling down 48.4 boards a night while they are 17th by dishing out 23.7 assists per game. The Nets are 19th in scoring defense as they allow 112 points per game this year. Kyrie Irving leads the team with 26.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists a night on the season. Caris LeVert chips in 14.9 points per contest while Spencer Dinwiddie contributes 21.5 points and 6.5 assists a game. Joe Harris (13.8 points), Garrett Temple (10.3 points) and Taurean Prince (12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds) are solid contributors while Jarrett Allen (11.3 points, 9.7 rebounds) pairs with DeAndre Jordan to provide a pair of serviceable big men in the paint. Brooklyn is 24th in field goal percentage by shooting 44 percent from the field as a team this season. The Nets are 9th in threes per game by knocking down 12.5 triples per contest while ranking 27th in the league by hitting 33.6 percent from beyond the arc on the year. Jordan is questionable with a finger injury he sustained January 15.
Detroit Pistons Playing Second Game of Back to BackDetroit was at home on Friday night battling Memphis in a battle of teams just outside their respective playoff pictures. The Pistons entered Friday third in the Central Division, 22 games behind the Bucks. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team stood ninth, two games behind the Nets for the final spot. The Pistons are 9-13 at home on the season entering Friday night. In those games, Detroit puts up an average of 111.9 points a night while allowing 111.3 points per contest. The Pistons have sputtered in the second game of back to back situations, going 1-6 in those contests while getting outscored by 11.2 points a night. Detroit is 3-5 against Atlantic Division teams, putting up 109.5 ppg while giving up 113.4 ppg in those contests.
The Pistons enter this contest 19th in the league in scoring offense with 109.3 points per game on the season. Detroit stands 30th in rebounding with 42.3 boards per contest and 14th with 24.4 assists per game. The Pistons are in the middle of the pack in scoring defense, ranking 17th by allowing 110.6 points per game. Andre Drummond is second on the team with 17.3 points, 15.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. Derrick Rose contributes a team-high 18.5 points plus 5.9 assists a night while Luke Kennard chips in 15.8 points per game. Blake Griffin has averaged 15.5 points plus 4.7 boards a contest. Markieff Morris adds 11.2 points plus 3.9 rebounds a night while Langston Galloway has chipped in 10.2 points a night. Detroit is tied for 8th in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 46.9 percent from the floor as a team on the year. The Pistons are tied for 15th in threes made per game with 11.8 per contest and stand fourth in three-point shooting as they connect on 37.3 percent of their shooting from beyond the arc.
Reggie Jackson missed 42 games with a stress fracture in his lower back before returning against Sacramento January 22. Griffin underwent knee surgery January 7 and is out indefinitely. The Pistons received a disabled player exception for him on January 22 so his season could be over. Kennard is also out with a knee injury and may not return until after the All-Star break. Drummond missed Wednesday’s game after having a tooth knocked out in the loss Monday to Washington. He is day to day at this point.
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