Two nights ago the Pistons went to New Jersey and beat the Nets, and earlier this season the Nets played with eight men and beat the Pistons. So, with the series split so far, the Nets and Pistons are set to play the rubber match, tonight.
Last game, Deron Williams carried the offensive load majorly, hitting six three-pointers on his way to 34 points. But, that effort was not enough to take the down Detroit who was led by Greg Monroe's 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Williams and Monroe will be the topics of discussion for our pregame 3-on-3 as Mark Ginocchio and Chris Hooker of Nets are Scorching are joined by Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered to talk Nets-Pistons.
Injury Notes: Brook Lopez, Damion James, Mehmet Okur, DeShawn Stevenson, Keith Bogans - out. MarShon Brooks - game-time decision.
1. How do the Pistons slow down Deron Williams?
- Mark Ginocchio: Unless Deron gets some offensive help you almost have to apply the "Jordan Rules" to DWill (let him get his). Just cut off the passing lanes when he tries to penetrate which should be fairly simple since the bulk of the Nets are hanging out on the perimeter anyway.
- Chris Hooker: They can't, the only person who can slow down Deron Williams is Deron Williams. I expect D-Will to go off again on Detroit, unless his shots aren't falling or his brick-handed teammates are dropping his looks. The shorthanded Nets need D-Will to win games, especially against this Pistons team who they should have beat on Wednesday. Regardless, with the Pistons weak at the point guard position, the only way they can "stop" Deron Williams is by making him do all the work for New Jersey.
- Patrick Hayes: They can't. Best case scenario, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight take turns defending him, making him adjust to their slightly different styles. Stuckey, when he's at his best defensively, is physical and is hard to beat off the dribble. Knight makes mistakes, but he plays extremely hard and his long arms help him bother shots. The Pistons don't have any way to neutralize Williams, but they can live with letting him have a big game as long as they defend the other Nets well.
2. How do the Nets slow down Greg Monroe?
- Mark Ginocchio: Withuot any kind of interior presence, I don't think it's possible. Monroe scored all 10 of his FGs at the rim on Wednesday. The Nets are terrible at defending screens and don't have anyone on the roster with the chops to effectively rotate towards the paint and cover an interior presence like Monroe.
- Chris Hooker: Greg Monroe is the only Piston who can dominate the Nets and the Nets can stop him by filling up the paint and out-rebounding him. New Jersey is going to need Humphries to come up with a double-double performance and Shelden Williams, who will be handling most of Monroe in the match-up, is going to need to just play him aggressively and not like he did on Wednesday. If Greg Monroe records another double-double tonight, it's a good chance that he was the best big on the court and the Nets can't expect to win if they don't control the Pistons front court, because it's a match-up that is easily winnable for them.
- Patrick Hayes: That has also been a difficult task for opponents this season. Monroe has had great games against good defensive centers like Joakim Noah and Andrew Bogut, so he's not just feasting on depleted frontcourts like New Jersey's. The best strategy for defending him is just keeping the ball out of his hands. The Pistons have low efficiency scorers in Knight, Ben Gordon, Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince. They all like to shoot and if you give them shots, they typically won't pass them up in favor of working harder to get the ball inside. If the Nets work hard to deny Monroe the ball, they'll have a good chance at limiting his offensive impact.
3. And the winner is...
- Mark Ginocchio: I still think the Pistons are bad enough that the Nets can pull a win out here. They're due and if MarShon is back, maybe a guy like Morrow or Shawne Williams gets on a roll and the Nets win.
- Chris Hooker: I picked the Nets on Wednesday and I'm going to pick them again tonight. I just don't see Detroit winning back-to-back games. If New Jersey can get Brooks back and D-Will and Morrow can go all Bonnie and Clyde like they should have done on Wednesday, I see them pulling this one out. The Nets have a tough opponent in San Antonio on Saturday and if they expect to have a shot in that game, coming off with a nice confidence booster tonight will be key.
- Patrick Hayes: Detroit. As much as I'd like to see the Pistons continue piling up losses while envisioning a Monroe-Anthony Davis frontcourt, the Nets are depleted and the Pistons, with Ben Gordon back and healthy, are playing at home, playing well and at nearly full strength for the first time this season. Plus, they have a shot at their first four-game win streak since 2009, so I'm sure that will give them a bit of extra motivation.