Brook Lopez scored 20 points in just 21 minutes, leading the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets to a 103-99 victory over the Pistons in what was basically a tune-up for the impending Eastern Conference playoffs.
Brooklyn Nets improved to 49-33 with the victory. It marks the franchise’s best win total since winning 49 in 2005-06 and tied the team’s mark for the 2nd-most wins in a single season. The Nets, the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, are headed to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006-07.
The Brooklyn Nets will face the 5th-seeded Chicago Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs this Saturday. The time and date of the first contest in the best-of-7 series has not yet been set by the NBA.
The win also gave interim coach P.J. Carlesimo a 35-19 record since taking over for Avery Johnson in December, the best start of any coach in franchise history. It also gave the Brooklyn Nets a 31-5 record this season against teams with a record below .500.
It was a game where Carlesimo got his starters some playing time after 6 players, including the team’s top 3 scorers, sat out the win over Washington on Monday. Carlesimo wanted to get his starters about 20 minutes of action, and basically that is what the starters like Lopez, Joe Johnson (10 points) and Deron Williams (8 points, 6 assists) got. All 3 played 21 minutes for the winners.
Andray Blatche scored 15 points and Kris Humphries 11 for the Nets.
With 23 points off the bench, Will Bynum paced Detroit, who finished the season with a 29-53 record. Andre Drummond added 13 for the Pistons. Football lines
The Brooklyn Nets took the lead for good in the closing minutes of the 1st quarter, going on a 16-2 run to take a 29-18 lead after one period. Lopez had 10 points in the first quarter and Gerald Wallace provided a little bit of everything, scoring two baskets on dunks, collecting 3 rebounds and 2 assists, all in the last 4 minutes.
The Pistons made a little bit of a run and chopped the lead straight to 52-45 with 2:08 remaining in the half, but Mirza Teletovic made his presence felt, draining 2 long three-pointers and hitting a mid-range jumper that pushed the lead back into double digits. Teletovic scored all 8 of his points of the first half in just a span of 6 minutes.
The Nets led 60-48 at the half. Johnson nailed 2 consecutive long 3-pointers, the second from 27 feet, to push the lead straight to 72-54 with 7:54 remaining in the period.
The Nets led by as many as 21 in the 3rd quarter as they were in complete command.
The Detroit Pistons cut the lead to 103-99 with a late 11-0 run. Kim English made one of 2 free throws with 44 seconds left to give the Pistons a chance, but a missed free throw and turnover hurt the cause. Teletovic made a big block in the closing seconds to secure the win.