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Lopez scores 17 to lead Nets to 93-90 win over Pistons

The SportsXchange

By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Brook Lopez didn't have any complaints about how he and his Brooklyn Nets finished their game against Detroit on Wednesday.

Following a frustrating home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers the previous night, the Nets calmly executed their plays in the late going and pulled out a 93-90 victory over the Pistons at The Palace.

Lopez had a team-high 17 points, including a crucial layup with 17.8 seconds remaining. Joe Johnson made two free throws with 8.8 seconds left and finished with 16 points.

It was a stark contrast to Tuesday's finish, when Brooklyn allowed the Lakers to score the last 10 points in a 92-83 loss. Lopez said his play at both ends during the final 2 ½ minutes was his worst performance all season.

"It was kind of the polar opposite tonight," said Lopez, who added nine rebounds. "We were pretty much behind the whole game. We kept fighting back and they kept making their run but our guys stuck with it. Tonight, we were great in the last three to five minutes."

Gerald Wallace had 14 points and Deron Williams added 12 with nine assists for the Nets (29-20), who had lost their last 10 games at The Palace.

"That's a good win," Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Coming on a back-to-back, coming off a very disappointing loss, digging ourselves a hole and then not going south. We fought back and had a lot of guys contribute. It wasn't just our horses, a lot of guys put up good numbers."

Greg Monroe had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons (18-32). Will Bynum added 13 points and seven assists, but Detroit lost for the fifth time in six games.

"It came down to that fourth quarter again, like usual," Detroit forward Jason Maxiell said. "They went small, so that kind of changed up our whole rotation and how we play our game. We should have stuck with our strong set and pushed the ball. We should have come out there in the fourth and hit them like they hit us and responded in a good way."

The Pistons were held to 30 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and made four turnovers.

"In a low-scoring game, all of those possessions add up," Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "Really, we're looking for different offensive sources and we couldn't find it."

The game was tight throughout the second half.

Detroit led 73-69 after the third quarter but went scoreless the first four minutes of the fourth. The Nets scored just five in that span, thanks to three air balls by rookie Mirza Teletovic.

After the lead changed hands several times, Williams made two free throws and a jumper to give Brooklyn an 86-83 edge with 3:51 remaining. Both teams went cold until Jonas Jerebko's tap-in with 1:31 left cut Brooklyn's lead to one. Wallace answered with two free throws before Jerebko made a jumper. Lopez and Monroe each made one of two free throws, keeping Brooklyn up by one with 33.6 seconds left.

Lopez then posted up Monroe to stretch the lead to three.

"You see Brook make that same move and not finish, kind of flail his arms or whatever," Carlesimo said. "That time, he made a good, strong move and finished."

Monroe followed with a layup but Johnson's final free throws iced things for the Nets. Bynum's desperation 3-pointer in the closing seconds fell short.

The Pistons led by as many as 13 in the first half before settling for a 46-40 halftime lead.

NOTES: Detroit's rookie center, Andre Drummond, injured his tailbone during the second quarter and did not return. He's questionable to play against San Antonio on Friday. ... Williams recorded his 5,000th career assist in the first quarter, setting up a jumper by Wallace. Williams, who has played 554 games, is just the seventh player since 1985-86 to record 5,000 assists in fewer than 600 games. The others are Muggsy Bogues, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and John Stockton. ... The Nets' last victory at The Palace was a 79-74 win on March 26, 2006. ... The Nets were 14-6 in Carlesimo's first 20 games as coach. Frank was the only other coach with a better 20-game start in franchise history (16-4). ... The Nets, who lost 92-83 to the Lakers on Tuesday, are 5-7 in the second game of back-to-backs. ... Guard Jose Calderon made his home debut as a Piston after being traded last week from Toronto. He had eight points and nine assists.
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