WITH Kyrie Irving’s contract issues persisting and Kevin Durant’s absence due to injury, the Brooklyn Nets have found themselves struggling to keep up with the NBA’s top teams.
The Detroit Pistons took advantage and banked on a huge third quarter to escape with a win against the Nets, 130-122.
Irving for Durant
Losing all-star Durant has always been an achilles heel for the Nets, they’ve only won three games out of seven when he’s out.
Irving averaged 26.9 points per game without Durant this year and is forced to take the lead without their franchise player. He unloaded for 40 points in the losing effort, shooting 14 for 27 on the field.
Detroit showed up finally
Bottom in the central division standings, Detroit has lost four straight before this game and has only won 12 games so far this season coming into the game.
Detroit forward Saddiq Bey has been playing well for the team scoring 25 points after a 21-point effort in Milwaukee.
The Pistons were leading by six points in the closing seconds of the first quarter, 30-24 when Markieff Morris made a 26-foot three-pointer at the buzzer.
There was a period in the second quarter where the Pistons were making easy baskets in transition from turnovers and went on a 7-0 run with six minutes left in the half.
Good thing Irving responded by scoring five straight points to cut the lead to one. The half ended with the Nets leading by one after a series of hustle plays that showed some grit from the team.
Jaden Ivey stood out the entire game for Detroit as he dished out 8 assists with some breathtaking passes in the lane helping the Pistons take their largest lead at 11 points in the third quarter.
The lead grew to as much as 14 points in the fourth for Detroit with the Nets nothing to show for in the end except for making the score respectable.
If it weren’t for Irving’s shots to stop Detroit’s big rallies, this could have been a blow-out.
Apart from Irving’s 40 points, Center Nic Claxton had 25 points and Edmond Sumner came off the bench with 24 points for the Nets.
Led by Bey, Detroit had all except one player in double figures with what could be their best game yet this season.
Detroit will welcome the Houston Rockets at home while Brooklyn will face cross-town rival New York Knicks next.