Sloppy Pistons fall to 0-2 with exhibition loss to Nets

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — After the first two exhibition games, there aren’t any sweeping pronouncements, but one thing is for sure: The Pistons will have to execute better offensively than they did on Thursday night.

In the opener against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, they committed 19 turnovers and coach Stan Van Gundy lamented the sloppy play. With backup point guard Spencer Dinwiddie getting the start and playing 25 minutes, some of the disarray was understandable.

But in Thursday’s matchup, a 93-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at The Palace, the Pistons were sloppier and committed 17 of their 21 total turnovers in the first half.

“I put that on forcing plays,” Van Gundy said. "We’re not playing together at all. It was a very selfish performance and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men.

“They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot and the passing lane was gone. We forced play after play after play and were not willing to move the ball.”

Jackson returned Thursday but had a subpar game, with seven points and six assists but also six turnovers in 29 minutes of a very forgettable outing.

On the positive side, he triggered the pick-and-roll and tossed an alley-oop to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the first few minutes. But that stability didn’t last throughout a lackluster first half, which produced only 32 points for Detroit.

“Forget about what?” Jackson said, asked about whether it was easier to forget about the first-half malaise. “Like I said, forget about what?”

Van Gundy struggled to find bright spots at all, but given that it’s still early in the preseason, he didn’t hold back on his assessment.

“Our defense was mediocre and our offense was far below mediocre — we deserved to lose,” Van Gundy said. “(The Nets) played the game the way the game is supposed to be played and we played it exactly the opposite of the way it’s supposed to be played."

Ersan Ilyasova had 15 points and seven rebounds, Andre Drummond had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Stanley Johnson chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds for the Pistons (0-2).

Jackson shook off some of the rust with an early 3-pointer and back-to-back baskets that helped in a second-quarter run that ended a 12-3 Nets spurt and cut the Pistons deficit to 34-27 with 3:46 left in the half.

The Pistons struggled from the start, making just 2 of their first 7 field goals, but had a 9-6 lead after the first five minutes. The Nets answered with an 11-0 run, including three straight baskets by Thaddeus Young.

The Nets built a 22-11 lead in the first quarter, but Johnson hit a 3-pointer — his first field goal of the game — at the buzzer to cut the deficit to eight. Detroit added consecutive baskets by Marcus Morris and two free throws by Anthony Tolliver and trailed 22-20, before Justin Harper hit a jumper and Dahntay Jones and Donald Sloan had back-to-back 3-pointers for New Jersey.

Brook Lopez led the charge for the Nets (1-1) with 17 points and nine rebounds, including 13 points in the second half, and gave Drummond trouble on both ends of the floor.

“Brook Lopez is a really good player,” Van Gundy said. “I didn’t think Andre’s energy was very good in the first half; it was a little bit better in the second half.”

The Pistons rallied early in the fourth quarter with an easy basket by Jodie Meeks and a steal and lay-in by Dinwiddie to pull within 63-58 with 11:26 left. But the Nets answered with an 11-0 run — with two 3-pointers by Chris Daniels and one by Wayne Ellington (16 points) and a pair of free throws by Sloan — to push the lead to 16.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Pistons had reduced their turnovers but couldn’t get outside shots to fall, making just 1 of their first 7 3-pointers in the second half.

“We’re going to have to watch film and get better from it. We have to move on,” Jackson said. “It’s not too many X’s and O’s; it’s just effort. A lot of turnovers, I know I had a lot; we had 18 at half and can’t continue to do that.

“We just have to figure out how to play ball off each other better and then defensively we have to continue to get back and load up. They proved it to us tonight.”