Statement made as Nets plow through Pistons ahead of road trip

A+

Final: 03/11/2019

W 103 – 75

The ball danced for the Nets against the Pistons, from a volleyed opening tip to the steals and dunks that made the bench jump up, kick and flick behind a raucous home crowd. Bodies clanged as the teams showed physically what this game meant personally — a tie-breaker and sixth place in the East. 

Through the bumps and bruises, the Nets put up a fight that saw them go up by as many as 31 points. It was just about as much as the team could have hoped for ahead of embarking on a seven-game road trip as the regular season ticks down. 

Approached with a large test, the Nets answered emphatically. 

Any night where seven players score in double-digits is a win for the Nets. The offense fed off a determination for Brooklyn to make itself known in the paint, a big case to make against a tandem like Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond that have dominated the Nets in the past. 

The starting lineup set the pace, and the rest followed. Brooklyn got into the paint with ease, sporting an early advantage and finishing the night with a 54-25 edge in points in the paint. From drives to dishes, the Nets built their foundation and only needed the three-point shot to buffer an already strong lead, making just 11. 

Brooklyn matched that intensity on the defensive end, forcing nine steals on the night while pushing the pace. Jarrett Allen held down the fort inside and the Nets contained Griffin and Drummond to 23 combined points and 6-of-24 shooting. Rodions Kurucs also had a hand in frustrating the opposition, remaining physical on his matchup with Griffin and staying active on defense for his three steals. 

The first half was when the Nets really showed the magic, holding the Pistons to 35 first-half points, a season-best, and could not miss while closing out the half. Kurucs was deflecting, Caris LeVert made his way into the lane and Spencer Dinwiddie brought his usual revenge A-game.

It was arguably the most spark the Nets have had all season, with Barclays Center sporting a playoff atmosphere.

After that run, Detroit made a bit of a threat to start the second half with an 8-2 run, but the Nets answered. Brooklyn matched the Pistons’ production in the third, carrying a season-high 26-point advantage into the fourth and adding two points to cap off its lead at 28 by the final buzzer. 

The Nets did not let down when the bench entered in the final minutes of the fourth, either, going on a 10-0 run as they held the Pistons to just 13 fourth-quarter points. 

In what was a physical game, DeMarre Carroll did exit with a hyperextended left knee following a collision. While his status is to be determined, Jared Dudley filled his minutes and played as a complement to his teammates’ success, setting screens and keeping the bench unit going. For the starters, Allen Crabbe put up a career night with the first double-double of his career. 

Every Net hit the floor in what was an emphatic win — an answer to a big test. Brooklyn shut down a hot Detroit team coming off a 5-game win streak, and hopped into the sixth seed after shooting the lights out, holding the Pistons to 27.8 percent shooting and allowing the fewest points it has all season. 

As Jim Spanarkel said postgame on YES, it is hard to find anything the Nets did wrong against the Pistons. It was a team effort, and a team success. Next comes a bigger challenge, the west-coast road trip. 

For now, they dance. 

Allen Crabbe

A+

The stats: 14 PTS, 5-8 FG, 4-6 3PT, 10 REB, 4 AST, 35 MIN

Allen Crabbe was a secret weapon and a surprise all in one Monday night. 

Previously holding a career-high of eight rebounds, Crabbe got up to 10 for his first-ever double-double to go with his four assists that matched a career-high. 

Crabbe had the pop from three when no one else did, utilized the lane and was locked in whether the Nets were up 30 or had trouble heating up. 

As Ian Eagle said, Crabbe deserves a double crab emoji for that performance.

We’ll give him three.  

Spencer Dinwiddie

A

The stats: 19 PTS, 5-11 FG, 2-7 3PT, 7-7 FT, 2 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO, 25 MIN

Nets fans knew they could expect a solid game from Spencer against his former team, and he delivered as usual. 

Spencer led his team in points, one of seven in double-digits, while continuing to make smart decisions and create some memorable plays. 

Spencer also made all his free throws, something Nets fans have grown to appreciate recently. While his assist number was not as high, Spencer brought Brooklyn what it needed offensively off the bench as the team was clicking against the Pistons. 

Dinwiddie revenge game, always strong. 

Jarrett Allen

A-

The stats: 11 PTS, 5-6 FG, 1-2 FT, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 25 MIN

Jarrett didn’t get his double-double, but his performance defensively was one of Brooklyn’s greatest assets against Detroit. He came in with energy and held down Drummond, including one sequence where Jarrett denied Drummond on three consecutive offensive rebounds. 

With his presence in the paint, Jarrett was one factor that contributed to Griffin and Drummond’s frustration. Drummond did finish with 20 rebounds, as he’s accustomed to doing, but Jarrett was a large reason why Drummond was held down offensively and struggled from the field (5-of-14, 13 points). 

Rodions Kurucs

A

The stats: 13 PTS, 6-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL, 3 TO, 20 MIN

Rodi was the reason for the largest crowd reaction on a sold-out night at Barclays. 

Rodi fed off his deflections and ended up being a matchup Blake Griffin got frustrated being paired up with. He was not afraid to be physical, and his play fed into what was a playoff atmosphere at Barclays Center. 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — and Rodi starting at the four is something that does not need fixing. 

D'Angelo Russell

B+

The stats: 11 PTS, 5-13 FG, 1-6 3PT, 0-2 FT, 3 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 24 MIN

DLo didn’t dominate offensively as has become a regular sight, and he was not his best to start the game either. He turned the ball over four times in his first 12 minutes, bringing slight worry to a Nets team that turned the ball over 17 times throughout the game. 

DLo did not turn the ball over again after that early sloppy start, though, and brought up his assists while adding two steals. And, of course, he was there for the bench celebrations and water bottle showers that make up the leader that has brought this Nets team to a four-game winning streak.