Pistons-Nets Preview

The Associated Press

Now that the Brooklyn Nets finally have their first December win, they can focus on ending their struggles at the Barclays Center.

With their starting center expected back, the Nets look to avoid a fifth consecutive home defeat Friday night against a Detroit Pistons team that has struggled to win on the road.

Brooklyn (12-9) won seven of the first eight at its swanky new arena. However, since allowing 87.0 points per contest while winning six straight there, the Nets have given up 105.8 during their four-game home skid.

They blew a 17-point lead in a 100-97 home loss to rival New York on Tuesday, but bounced back to snap their five-game overall slide with a 94-88 win over Toronto on Wednesday.

Joe Johnson scored 23 points and C.J. Watson added 16 off the bench as the Nets overcame an eight-point halftime deficit, giving them their first win in six games this month.

"We'll take a win any way we can get it right now,'' said guard Deron Williams, who delivered a halftime pep talk to his teammates. "It's good to get back on a winning track. It's something we needed in the worst way.''

Brooklyn hit nine of its 10 3-pointers in the second half and took control by outscoring the Raptors 31-19 in the third quarter. Johnson scored 19 in the second half.

As the Nets look to begin a win streak, they should get a boost from the expected return of Brook Lopez, who's averaging 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. Brooklyn lost five of seven - including the four straight home defeats - while the 7-footer sat with a sprained right foot.

Lopez averaged 21.3 points in the first eight games at the Barclays Center.

Though Brooklyn has dropped four of five against Detroit (7-17), the Pistons are 2-11 on the road. They are averaging 89.8 points and 41.4 percent shooting away from home.

Detroit snapped a four-game road losing streak with a 104-97 win over Cleveland on Saturday, but it's dropped two straight since then. The Pistons led by eight after one quarter at home versus Denver on Tuesday, but wound up shooting 42.0 percent and committing 17 turnovers in a 101-94 loss.

"You're not going to win a game 150-14,'' current Detroit and former Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "The key is this: A team's going to make a run. It's the mistakes we made and how they got them. With that, the mistakes, they multiplied, they came in succession so they become a little bit deflating.''

Pistons guard Brandon Knight, who scored 20 on Tuesday, has averaged 24.0 points in his last three road games.

Williams has scored 24.7 points a contest and shot 50 percent (26 of 52) in three games against Detroit while with the Nets.

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