NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 21st (All times eastern)
Detroit Pistons (15-27) at New Jersey Nets (11-31), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Detroit Pistons look to get back in the win column when they take on the New Jersey Nets tonight at the Prudential Center.
Detroit had a three-game winning streak come to an end with Wednesday's 86-82 loss in Boston, as Rodney Stuckey led the way with 15 points. Tayshaun Prince and rookie Greg Monroe both netted 13 points for the Pistons, who fell to just 4-18 away from The Palace this season.
"They are an experienced team. They took their time, and they were poised," Detroit coach John Kuester said of the Celtics. "I was very proud of how my guys played."
Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon ended with 11 and 10 points, respectively, in a losing effort off the bench. Detroit's reserves are averaging 39.9 points per game, good enough for first in the NBA this season. Pistons guard Richard Hamilton did not play in his fifth straight game and is averaging 13.2 ppg this season. Center Ben Wallace (ankle) is questionable for tonight.
Tracy McGrady had just five points in the recent loss, but is averaging 10.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his last 17 games. McGrady needs four more rebounds for 5,000 in his career.
New Jersey got its five-game homestand off to a good start with Wednesday's improbable 103-95 triumph over the Utah Jazz. Brook Lopez scored 20 points to lead the way, as the Nets halted a six-game slide and for only the second time in their previous 13 contests.
The Nets were competing in the midst of the team backing out of a deal that could have landed Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony. In a news conference prior to the game, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he has instructed the team to walk away from trade talks involving Anthony. The Russian billionaire purchased the Nets in September 2009 and said he believes the trade talks cost his team wins and canceled an upcoming meeting with Anthony.
"I'm relieved it's over," Nets coach Avery Johnson told NBA.com. "I'm relieved for our players, but I'm more relieved for (general manager) Billy (King). We can now just move on. We'll keep developing the players we have and keep improving. I liked what we did tonight. There was positive energy and no panic when they started to come back. For the first time in a long time, we closed a team out."
Sasha Vujacic had 15 points off the bench and Devin Harris provided 14 and six assists for New Jersey, which is 8-10 at home and will also host the Mavericks, Cavaliers and Grizzlies on the residency. Lopez is averaging 26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 blocks in his last four games. Over the past nine, Vujacic is the Nets second leading scorer at 14.3 ppg.
New Jersey topped Detroit, 101-98, back on Oct. 27 this season at the Rock, but the Pistons are 13-6 in the previous 19 matchups in this series. These two teams have split the last eight encounters in the Garden State.
01/21 10:50:16 ET