The Detroit Pistons return to action Friday looking to snap a three-game losing streak. They welcome the Brooklyn Nets, who currently ride a three-game winning streak.
Head coach Jason Kidd’s first season in Brooklyn has so far been one he’d like to forget. The team’s NBA-record $101,291,208 payroll has given Kidd a loaded roster of aging future Hall-of-Famers and current stars like Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, but injuries and growing pains leave the Nets lagging behind in a historically weak Eastern Conference. After acquiring veterans Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics and signing former Pistons’ coach Lawrence Frank as an assistant, the Nets have fallen to an 8-14 record – good for 12th place in the East.
Brooklyn will be without Lopez on Friday after the starting center sustained an ankle injury in the Nets’ 102-93 win against the Clippers on Thursday. Reggie Evans (2.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG), a 12-year veteran from Iowa, will start in place of Lopez.
Garnett (6.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG), Williams (12.2 PPG, 6.7 APG), Johnson (16.4 PPG, 4.3 APG), and former Michigan State Spartan Alan Anderson (8.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG) round out Brooklyn’s starting five.
For the 12th consecutive game, and the 16th of the last 17 games, the Pistons will start Greg Monroe (15 PPG, 8.9 RPG), Josh Smith (15 PPG, 6.6 RPG), Andre Drummond (13.3 PPG, 12.6 RPG), Brandon Jennings (17.0 PPG, 7.8 APG) and rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (7.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG).
Reserve guard Rodney Stuckey leads the Pistons in scoring off the bench, averaging 15.2 points per game. Stuckey has also emerged an early candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Chauncey Billups will suit up for Detroit for the first time since November 12 (knee tendonitis).
Friday will be the second meeting between Detroit and Brooklyn this season. The Pistons defeated the Nets in the Barclays Center, 109-97, on Nov. 24.
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