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Nets rebound from loss to beat Pistons

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- A little anger went a long way for the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

Peeved with their effort in a 105-93 home loss to Atlanta the previous night, the Nets kicked off their longest road trip this season with a 119-82 thumping of the downtrodden Detroit Pistons at The Palace on Monday. The Pistons lost their ninth straight.

"From having a little letdown last night, we played a little angry tonight," said reserve guard Jerry Stackhouse, who was one of six Nets in double figures with 10 points. "That's always a big thing with this group. Sometimes we struggle to find our energy, but tonight everybody was focused and we didn't have much slippage at all. The first unit set the tone and second unit came out and kicked it up. It was a good night."

Deron Williams' night was better than good, as he poured in 31 points and added five assists despite sitting out the fourth quarter.

"You can't overstate it. He's playing at such a high level right now," Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Your point guard always sets the tone. He's moving the ball, he's shooting the ball so well and he's playing with so much confidence."

Williams reached the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season in the first of eight straight road games for Brooklyn (39-28). Brook Lopez supplied 18 points and seven rebounds, and Andray Blatche added 15 points and eight rebounds as the Nets pulled within a half-game of New York for the Atlantic Division lead, pending the result of the Knicks' Monday night game at Utah.

Brooklyn shot 54.2 percent from the field while winning by its second-biggest margin this season. The Nets beat the Orlando Magic by 39 on Nov. 9. Detroit suffered its worst home loss.

"We controlled the game the entire game," Lopez said. "There was a purpose to get last night out of our minds and set the right foot forward to the road trip."

Will Bynum led Detroit (23-46) with 18 points, and Greg Monroe had 17. The Pistons' last lead was 6-5. Detroit's starting point guard, Jose Calderon, played only eight minutes because of flu-like symptoms.

"Personally, I don't think there's a bright spot in a game like this," Monroe said. "As a team, we need to compete. I understand I may have had an OK game but it was another loss."

The Pistons allowed opponents to shoot 50.8 percent during the first eight games of the streak and were even more generous Monday. The Nets shot 57.9 percent while taking a 59-45 halftime lead.

"This is our fifth game like that since the (All-Star) break," said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, whose team has also lost by 39 and 32 points during the current slide. "As a group, we stunk. We were bad. You've got to give Brooklyn credit but it was just disheartening to watch."

Williams scored 14 first-quarter points as his club raced to a 36-23 lead. Stackhouse, who hadn't played since Jan. 26, sparked Brooklyn with six second-quarter points. Williams gave the Nets their biggest lead of the half, 59-39, with a 3-pointer before Detroit closed the quarter with six unanswered points.

The Pistons tried a zone defense in the third quarter, but that failed to swing the momentum. Williams and Joe Johnson made back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 80-58. Williams stretched the lead to 30 later in the quarter with another 3-pointer.

NOTES: Pistons guard Brandon Knight missed his third consecutive game with a left ankle sprain. Brooklyn guard Keith Bogans also sat out with a left ankle injury. ... Frank returned to the sideline after missing the previous six games to be with his ailing wife, who underwent major surgery for an undisclosed condition in New Jersey. "This is a great organization, and they told me to take off as much time as needed," he said. "At some point, you feel like you have to go back to work and pray the other stuff takes care of itself." ... Detroit rookie center Andre Drummond, who has missed 19 games with a stress fracture in his back, participated in the team's shootaround. Frank wants Drummond to return before the season ends to gain more experience. ... The teams complete their four-game season series on April 17 in Brooklyn. ... The Nets are 22-3 when holding opponents below 90 points. ... The Pistons shot 1 for 18 on 3-point attempts, their worst showing this season. Their previous low was two made 3-pointers.
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