Streaking Nets aim for win against struggling Pistons

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On Feb. 9, the Brooklyn Nets held a 14-12 record and were not winning as consistently as they anticipated.

After an ugly loss to the Detroit Pistons that day, new coach Steve Nash's message to his team focused on improved connectivity while players vowed to play better defensively.

Since then, the Nets are the NBA's hottest team, and they will attempt to keep rolling Saturday night when they host those same Pistons. They are 11-1 since that ugly night in Detroit.

During the hot streak, the Nets are allowing 110.6 points per game -- down from 118.4 -- and eight of those wins have been by double digits. The latest was Thursday's 121-109 win over the Boston Celtics, when Kyrie Irving tied a season-high 40 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the final three-plus minutes.

"He's just different. He's a different breed," Nets guard James Harden said of Irving. "He has that killer mentality in a sense of, no matter who we play or where we're playing, he is going to go out there and try to destroy the opponent and that's something that you'd want on your team at all times."

The Nets have played all but one game since Feb. 9 without Kevin Durant, who will miss his 11th straight game with a hamstring injury. Despite missing Durant, Brooklyn's offense is humming. The Nets have scored more than 120 points eight times, shot at least 50 percent five times and hit at least 15 3-pointers nine times during this run.

Blake Griffin scored nine points in 31 minutes for Detroit in its win over the Nets in February but now has flipped locker rooms. The Nets signed him Monday after Detroit waived him last Saturday, though he has yet to play for Brooklyn as he works his way back into shape.

"Blake's a small-ball 5 who can make open 3s," Nash said. "He's really good in the half-roll playmaking, playing four-on-three, three-on-two, two-on-one. He's an intelligent player, has great experience. So, there's plenty of ways he can adapt and help."

Detroit is 4-9 since the previous meeting with the Nets. Despite owning the fewest wins (10) in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons have wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, Celtics, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns on the season.

Detroit is coming off a 105-102 loss at the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. The Pistons shot 44.7 percent and hit 15 3-pointers in a game they trailed by as many as 16 points.

The Pistons have scored fewer than 110 points in 10 games since the last meeting with the Nets, though they are shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range in the past three games.

In the last meeting with Brooklyn, Jerami Grant scored 32 points -- one of his eight 30-point games this season. Grant also scored 32 points Thursday against the Hornets when he hit 11 of 24 shots and added eight rebounds in a game in which coach Dwane Casey used 12 players.

"First of all, we haven't played in almost a week," Casey said. "Guys were a little winded, they were in the same thing, I don't know how many guys they played. But I think both teams were just trying to get fresh bodies in, and you know getting guys a blow, and I thought everybody who came in the game did an excellent job."

--Field Level Media