The Least You Should Know
[sny-box] As was the case on Tuesday evening in the preseason opener at the Washington Wizards, all five Nets starters played limited minutes, mostly in the first half. Paul Pierce (five points) and Brook Lopez (eight points, three rebounds) each went 13 minutes, while Kevin Garnett played an effective 12, finishing with eight points on 4-for-5 shooting.
Head coach Jason Kidd pushed Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston a little more as they each played 20 minutes after starting the second half. Johnson finished with nine points on 4-for-7 shooting. Andray Blatche led the Nets with 15 points.
For the Pistons, second-year center Andre Drummond finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
The 6-foot-11, 285-pound big man exploited a potential in weakness, interior defense when the second unit is on the floor. Drummond dominated that second unit, which generally features Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans on the blocks. Led by Drummond, the Pistons scored 36 points in the paint in the first half and 50 for the game. [/sny-box]
In a preseason game that is ultimately of little consequence, the fact the Nets gave up 50 points in the paint and allowed Drummond to run wild for the majority of his 18 minutes on the floor is not quite cause for concern in October, but it bears watching.
All six of Drummond's field goals were either dunks or high-percentage looks inside of five feet.
"What everybody has to understand is we're still obviously a work in progress," Garnett said. "I thought we did a lot of good things tonight, but first thing Jason said when we came in today for the game plan was protect our paint. Detroit's not known for perimeter shooting, they're known for what they did tonight, get the ball in the paint, alley-oops, easy buckets and they got a lot of them tonight. It's a great game for us to learn from."
The Nets were also out-rebounded, 41-28, and yielded 72 shot attempts by the Pistons. With this being the preseason and the regulars not playing as much as they normally would once the regular season begins, those figures are arguably hollow. If nothing else, they are further proof of the work that needs to be done over the next 18 days prior to the opener at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It's still a work in progress," Pierce said. "We didn't really do a good job protecting the paint. It's better that we make the mistakes now, get them out of the way now, learn from them and try and get better. We want become a defensive team and make that our identity. When we give up the points we did tonight and all the dunks, we definitely took a step back."
When both starting units were out on the floor together during the first six minutes of the opening quarter, Garnett did a fantastic job of facilitating from the high post, while looking for his own shot. The 19th-year pro was 3-for-3 from the field in five minutes, 31 seconds of action as the Nets opened the game 10-for-18 from the field. Additionally, the ball movement in the halfcourt was noticeably better than most of last season.
The offense will remain something of a question mark until Deron Williams is ready to go. The franchise point guard continues to nurse a sprained right ankle and has not begun practicing fully yet. He went through a short workout on the Barclays Center floor pregame and did not appear to be hampered by the ankle. Williams will likely sit all three of next week's preseason games, with an eye debuting either Oct. 23 at the Boston Celtics or at the Miami Heat on Oct. 25.
There was injury of note as point guard Tyshawn Taylor suffered a sprained right ankle. He had a walking boot on in the postgame locker room, but the prognosis going forward will not be determined until at least Sunday when the Nets practice next. The Nets are the Sixers on Monday evening.
As a result of Taylor's injury, Marko Jaric saw extended time at the point, finishing with three points on 1-for-3 shooting in 16 minutes.