NEW YORK — Mason Plumlee put together another productive game Sunday, but the part the second-year center enjoyed most was hitting free throws down the stretch.
Plumlee collected 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets survived a dramatic finish and held on for a 110-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center.
Starting for injured Brook Lopez for the seventh consecutive game, Plumlee produced his fourth double-double and shot 9-for-10 in 33 minutes. His biggest points came while the Nets nearly squandered a 15-point lead in the final moments.
After Detroit was within 102-98 following a 3-pointer by guard Brandon Jennings with 1:19 left, Plumlee stepped to the line two seconds later. A 43.8 percent foul shooter this season and a 56 percent career free-throw shooter, Plumlee easily sank both and capped his fifth straight game in double figures.
“It felt great,” Plumlee said. “Coach probably didn’t like (me) holding the ball for that long, but I wanted it. There’s no better way to get confidence than to hit some down the stretch. Those are big.”
Plumlee’s final points proved even more significant when the Nets could not expand their six-point lead and were forced to win it at the line. A dunk and a layup by Detroit center Andre Drummond made it a 104-102 game with 45.7 seconds left. A 3-pointer by Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sliced the deficit to 106-105 with 9.8 seconds left.
The Nets finally sealed their 10th win in 12 games against losing teams when forward Joe Johnson sank two foul shots with 8.7 seconds left and forward Kevin Garnett hit two more with two seconds remaining. Garnett’s final free throws came after he missed two foul shots with 6.1 seconds remaining.
Garnett’s misses might have snapped a 108-108 tie, but Caldwell-Pope was unable to hit a 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left, and Pistons forward Josh Smith missed two free shots with four seconds left.
“We’re always getting back in games but just not enough to get over the hump,” Drummond said.
Before the dramatic final minutes, the Nets went up 98-83 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Plumlee had two dunks and a steal during a 15-3 run, but then Brooklyn missed five of its next seven shots before Plumlee stepped to the line.
“I think we get to the point where we try to protect the lead instead of playing basketball,” Johnson said. “We shot ourselves in the foot and let them back in the game.”
Added Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins: “We had a 15-point lead, and it seemed like we got conservative. We quit attacking and we started turning the ball over.”
Six Nets scored in double figures as Brooklyn (11-15) avoided a fourth straight loss.
Johnson had 16 points and seven assists despite getting poked in the left eye in the third quarter. Point guard Jarrett Jack filled in competently for Deron Williams (right calf) and totaled 15 points and 10 assists for his first double-double since March 23 against the New York Knicks while he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rookie swingman Bojan Bogdanovic had 14 points, forward Mirza Teletovic added 13 and Garnett contributed 10 for the Nets, who tied a season high with 29 assists and shot 52.6 percent from the floor.
“We got two starters down, we’ve been in the last three games,” Plumlee said. “We’ve been in them until the fourth and we let them get away from us, so it was a big win for us. We made plays down the stretch.”
Caldwell-Pope, who sank five 3-pointers, led the Pistons with 20 points. Drummond totaled 18 points and 20 rebounds for his 15th double-double. Reserve forward Greg Monroe added 16 points and eight rebounds for Detroit, which dropped its fourth straight and fell to 5-23.
“Consistency in what we’re doing would help, but I thought our guys battled back,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said.
NOTES: Brooklyn C Brook Lopez missed his eighth straight game with a back injury, and it doesn’t appear that he will return this week. All he did during Saturday’s practice was take shots. … For the first time all season, the Pistons will have four days in between games, and coach Stan Van Gundy is looking forward to having three practices to consider rotation changes and teach some things better, specifically transition and pick-and-roll defense. … Van Gundy also said he does not expect to hear from the league about C Andre Drummond’s fourth-quarter flagrant foul on Toronto F James Johnson on Friday. Van Gundy said he didn’t play Drummond the rest of the game to avoid any possible retaliation by the Raptors.
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