When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Barclays Center
Watch: YES Network
The Nets’ 2018 has been off to a dramatic start. The team is 2-2 so far in the new year, with each of their last five games decided by three points or fewer. The Nets have competed all 48 minutes in this most recent stretch of games, going down to the wire.
Although the Nets’ last two games against the Raptors and Celtics have counted as losses in the standings, Brooklyn’s performances were impressive. Against two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, Brooklyn held its own. Maybe the tide will turn in Brooklyn’s favor eventually.
Wednesday night, the Nets close out their five-game home stand against the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons are currently 21-18, holding onto the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Detroit started the season towards the top of the Eastern Conference, but suffered a seven-game losing streak to cap off the beginning of December. The Pistons are definitely improved after missing the playoffs last season, but this year’s narrative has shifted.
With a little less than a month left before this season’s trade deadline, the Pistons are in trade discussions and rumors. Most recently, they were in the discussion for Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. If Detroit is looking to add to their depth for a playoff run, now may be the time to stay tuned for potential targets.
Here are three things to watch for in Wednesday night’s Nets-Pistons matchup!
The Whistles…and Respect
Alright, this has been the hot topic for the past two games for the Nets. Many fans (and Spencer Dinwiddie) believe that the conclusion of the games against the Celtics and Raptors were marred by a lack of foul calls on the Nets. Dinwiddie, the Nets’ hero for the past two games (and more) has taken the ball in crunch time straight to the rim, drawing contact, but the whistles haven’t gone his way…or gone at all. He even voiced his frustration after his final shot of the game against the Celtics.
Dinwiddie has addressed the media after the past two games, expressing his feelings.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 9, 2018
After Monday’s game against Toronto, Dinwiddie said that he and the rest of his team “have to be better,” rather than relying on foul calls. After two heartbreaking losses, the Nets will try to get back on track and refocus against Detroit. Perhaps, with a win, the Nets will begin to earn more respect around the league. Sometimes it isn’t just about referees; a victory may help the Nets take back and make up for the difficult and frustrating losses of late.
Tobias Harris is the Pistons’ leading scorer (18.4 points per game) while shooting a highly efficient 43.8 percent from deep. Harris, a native of Long Island, has pure scoring instincts. While he may not be the most explosive scorer, he scores consistently and from a variety of different areas. He can create off the dribble and also play off-ball. Harris has matured into one of the unheralded scorers in the NBA.
In the Nets’ last game against the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan took over the game in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Much like Harris, DeRozan is an effective shot creator, with nifty fakes and crafty shooting all over the floor. With the Nets’ shutdown defender, DeMarre Carroll, out for his second straight game due to a knee sprain, Brooklyn will need to make it a priority to contain Harris.
Detroit’s only other shot creator, Reggie Jackson, is out. If the Nets can stop Harris’ offensive flow, it will be a rough night for the Pistons’ attack.
Andre Drummond is a beast. The 24-year-old is averaging more rebounds (14.9) than points (14.2) this season, while also dishing out a surprising 3.7 assists per game. The Nets have struggled mightily against interior presences previously. Last game, Jonas Valanciunas had his way against the Nets’ front line, scoring 21 points on 9-15 shooting while also snagging 13 rebounds.
In order to stop Drummond’s interior presence, Brooklyn needs to continue competing together on the glass. Against Toronto, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds and Joe Harris, Allen Crabbe and Spencer Dinwiddie all pulled down more than five rebounds.
The Nets have done a great job as of late in hustling for rebounds. Limiting Drummond’s performance on the glass will mitigate the Nets’ lack of size in the frontcourt. Brooklyn has been known to go small at different points in the game, but with Jarrett Allen and Jahlil Okafor both looking solid off the bench, it may be time to go big.
Pregame coverage starts at 7 p.m. on YES Network. Be sure to follow @TheBKGame on Twitter for live game coverage!