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Nets top Pistons for 15th straight win at home

5 min read
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BROOKLYN — After the Brooklyn Nets won their franchise-record 15th straight home game with their usual display of effective perimeter shooting, Paul Pierce likened their home success to having a good meal in their own home.

The way the Nets have been playing at home in the last two months, it’s more like a five-star dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Especially when guard Shaun Livingston and reserve forward Mirza Teletovic play prominent roles in another win for the Nets, like they did Friday night by combining for 43 points in a 116-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The Nets (41-34) improved the Eastern Conference’s best record in 2014 to 31-13 and have not lost a home game since getting blown out by Oklahoma City on Jan. 31, a loss that came four nights after a last-second one-point loss to Toronto. Those are the only two home defeats for the Nets since getting embarrassed with a 95-78 Christmas Day loss to the Chicago Bulls.

“For the most part we’ve been playing so well here over the last couple of months,” Pierce said. “It really feels good. It’s like you feel comfortable when you have dinner at your house rather than when you go someone else’s house you don’t know what they’re going to cook. Same thing.”

“I know what he’s saying,” Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams said. “You go to someone’s house, you feel a little awkward and you just don’t want to just go start eating their food. I don’t know how that translates to basketball but we definitely are comfortable here.”

The Nets have usually known what they’re cooking of late at home and most it happens behind the arc as they went 15-of-31 from 3-point range on a night they shot a season-high 60.5 percent (46-of-76) and reached 100 points for the 10th consecutive home game, their longest streak since the 1986-87 season.

“The one thing that leads to threes is everyone being unselfish,” Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd said. “Guys are posting up and they’re finding their teammates. When you’re unselfish like that, you get the looks that we’re getting from behind the three. It’s fun to watch.”

The Nets were able to shoot that well thanks to Livingston and Teletovic, who were a combined 18-of-25 from the floor and hit big shots at various points.

Livingston scored nine of his 23 points to turn back a late Detroit threat that reduced a 22-point lead to 96-87 with 7:08 remaining. He started his late surge with an alley-oop dunk and then hit three jumpers to seal the latest win for Brooklyn, which is 2 1/2 games behind Chicago and Toronto.

“We’ve been playing well at this arena,” Livingston said. “I think it’s a comfort zone and we’re trying to build on that momentum that we have. I think the goal now is to challenge ourselves on the road. Depending on playoff seeding and where we have to start, we have to be a good road team.”

Livingston’s late surge gave him a career high for field goals and was within two points of his career high set April 9, 2010, when he was with Washington.

Teletovic took advantage of Pierce’s foul trouble and reached 20 points for the fourth time this season and first time since getting 20 against the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 5. Since that game Teletovic had shot 36.4 percent (35-of-96) from the field at home.

“It feels good,” Teletovic said. “I think the guys they see I’m making shots, they do an unbelievable job to get me open and get me the ball. I think everybody was trying to get me the ball as much as possible.”

Teletovic made his first five shots as the Nets raced out to a 48-30 lead midway through the second quarter. At that point the Nets were in the midst of hitting seven straight 3-pointers, which helped them take a 51-31 lead before settling for a 58-45 halftime lead.

Teletovic checked in with 4:56 remaining when Pierce picked up his fourth foul and the Nets holding a 75-61 lead. On his first defensive possession, he stole the ball from Greg Monroe and hit an open 3-pointer for a 78-61 edge that grew to 91-69 entering the fourth.

Forward Andre Drummond had his 51st double-double with 23 points and 18 rebounds but it was not enough as the Pistons lost for the 16th time in their last 17 road games. Forward Josh Smith added 17 points but Brandon Jennings and Monroe were a combined 6-of-22 from the field.

“We weren’t physical enough defending it (the 3-pointer),” Detroit interim head coach John Loyer said. “We didn’t make them make multiple passes for their buckets. They made one, maybe two for their buckets and they have too good enough players to do that.”

NOTES: While C Kevin Garnett missed his 19th straight game, Nets coach Jason Kidd said he was ecstatic after the morning shootaround about the progress made by Garnett in recovering from back spasms that have prevented him from playing since Feb. 27 in Denver. Earlier this week, the Nets said they are targeting a return for Garnett on Tuesday in Miami or Wednesday in Orlando but after the game, Kidd was cautiously optimistic Garnett would return Saturday in Philadelphia. Brooklyn F Andrei Kirilenko returned after missing six games with an ankle injury. … ESPN recently released their front-office rankings and Detroit president of basketball operations Joe Dumars finished last with a score of 2.95 based on input from more than 210 ESPN NBA contributors. … Detroit G Will Bynum sat out with a sore foot. His absence created more minutes for rookie G Peyton Siva, whom Pistons coach John Loyer said looks more comfortable now than earlier in the season.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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