New York — Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the rest of the Nets are still trying to mesh on the court.
Especially on defense.
Garnett and former Celtics teammate Pierce had their first Brooklyn home game spoiled Saturday night as Andre Drummond scored 15 points and first-round pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 12 for the Pistons in a 99-88 victory Saturday night.
For the second straight game, Brooklyn had some defensive lapses inside the paint and couldn’t stop the lobs that Drummond was getting at the rim. The Nets gave up 32 points in the paint after allowing 46 against the Wizards Tuesday night.
“What everybody has to understand still is we are obviously still a work in progress,” Garnett said. “…Great game for us to learn from. We didn’t pack the paint in as well as I think we can. We will get better.”
Kyle Singler scored 11 and rookie Tony Mitchell 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons.
Most of the upper bowl seats were filled, while there were plenty of empty seats in the lower level empty as 16,331 attended the game, giving Garnett and Pierce a nice ovation when the starters were introduced.
All that did was motivate Drummond and the Pistons.
“We punched them in the mouth first. We didn’t let them jump on us first,” Drummond said. “We did our best to get after them first, try to run the floor on them, try to make them run after us.”
New Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks was impressed with the way his center was active on the court, pointing out his work with first-time coach Rasheed Wallace, who retired last season.
“Andre Drummond, in the third quarter, was running on the floor and getting those lobs,” Cheeks said. “He had one or two post moves, but it wasn’t something we ran for him. . Just the way he plays is amazing to watch. I think Rasheed Wallace has been doing a good job working with him.”
Andray Blatche led the Nets with 15 points.