Pistons-Nets Preview

The Associated Press

While the injury-plagued Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons spent boatloads of money on big-name players this offseason, those moves haven't worked out according to plan.

Hoping to avoid a fifth consecutive loss, the Nets and Pistons both try to get on track Sunday at Barclays Center.

Brooklyn (3-9) was expected to become an Eastern Conference powerhouse after acquiring All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett but is still waiting to reap the benefits of that blockbuster trade.

"The big thing for this group, we have to do it together," said coach Jason Kidd, whose team is allowing 102.5 points per game. "And we can talk about it, but the actions have to kick in at some point and we're not doing that on either end."

Brooklyn has dropped seven of eight, including its last four by an average of 12.7 points. The Nets were limited to 39.7 percent shooting and posted their fewest points this season in Friday's ugly 111-81 loss at Minnesota.

"Everybody's frustrated, "said Garnett, averaging a career-low 6.7 points. "We created this monster. We've got to deal with it. You're going to have the business of basketball come into play I'm sure and management is probably going to do what they've got to do, but that's out of our hands. We've got to control our own destiny, who we are as individuals and players. So like I said, for the fifth time, look at yourself and try to fix this thing."

Doing so could prove difficult without point guard Deron Williams and leading scorer Brook Lopez (20.5 points per game), who were both held out again with ankle injuries. Andrei Kirilenko, meanwhile, has missed seven straight contests due to back spasms and Jason Terry sat out Friday with a bruised knee.

All four players are uncertain to face Detroit (4-8), which suffered four losses in as many games against Brooklyn last season. The Pistons have also dropped eight of 10 road matchups in the series.

Detroit is coming off a home-and-home sweep at the hands of Atlanta, falling 96-89 on Friday. Kyle Singler scored a career-high 22 points while starting in place of Josh Smith, who came off the bench as a result of missing Thursday's practice.

Smith, who missed all seven of his shot attempts and went scoreless in 20 minutes, is averaging 14.7 points - his lowest mark in six seasons - and a career-low 6.0 rebounds. He is expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday.

"Josh is a great player," former teammate Al Horford said. "He's going to get it going. He's going to be fine."

Fellow newcomer Brandon Jennings dished out 14 assists but was limited to eight points on 4-of-16 shooting for Detroit, which has dropped seven of nine.

"You can see by everybody's face, nobody likes to lose," center Andre Drummond told the team's official website. "It's tough to swallow, but we've just got to get back to the drawing board. We can't keep using the same excuse, that we're a new team. We're 12 games in now, so it comes down to us figuring things out and just coming together as one."

Drummond has averaged 14.1 points and 14.3 boards during a stretch of seven consecutive double-doubles.

Jennings, a career 39.4 percent shooter, is averaging 30.0 points on 52.9 percent from the floor in his last six meetings with Brooklyn. He signed a three-year, $24 million contract following a sign-and-trade with Milwaukee this summer, while Smith agreed to a four-year, $54 million deal.

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