Andre Drummond has 22 points, 20 rebounds as Pistons rip Nets
New York — The road skid had to end at some point. Brooklyn was as good a place as any for the Pistons to end their five-game losing streak.
Though they’ve had problems beating the Nets in the past couple years, they had an easier go this time.
And they did it in style.
The Pistons used a second-quarter surge to pull ahead and singed the Nets, 114-80, on Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
According to Fox Sports Detroit, it was the first time the Pistons had led at halftime since Dec. 14 at Atlanta, a span of eight games. It’s their first road win since the back-to-back wins over the Hawks and Indiana Pacers.
Andre Drummond had 22 points, 20 rebounds and five assists and Tobias Harris added 22 points — on 10-of-14 shooting — to push the Pistons (22-18) to a 34-26 lead after the first quarter.
The defense was the difference, holding the Nets to 37 percent from the field, with Drummond roving the middle and diffusing the pick-and-roll.
“Our defense was outstanding tonight; everybody was involved,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We got everybody doing their job. I thought Andre Drummond and Eric Moreland on pick-and-roll defense put a lot of pressure on their guards and made it really tough.”
On the offensive end, Drummond was just as devastating, combining with Harris for 21 points in the first period, including 12 straight Pistons points during a four-minute stretch. The duo connected on several pick-and-roll plays, a connection the Nets (15-26) had a hard time stopping.
“I’m not a real creative offensive guy, as you guys all know,” Van Gundy joked. “If we find something that’s working, I tend to just keep going to it. Tobias got off to a great start.
“I thought Andre was outstanding all night; we did a great job.”
The Pistons finished the quarter on a 10-2 run when the reserves entered and the baskets just kept coming. The Pistons opened the second period on a 19-4 run over the first 6:43, with a pair of baskets from two-way guard Dwight Buycks (17 points and three assists).
“We were able to take advantage of some early opportunities with what the defense was giving us, just reading off my teammates and what the game dictates,” Harris said. “From the jump, we got good defensive stops and were able to get out in transition. Andre was a big focus, for them, so we were able to get some good looks and capitalize off that.”
Drummond returned to the game and hit a floater and split a pair of free throws. Reggie Bullock hit a putback and Ish Smith (eight points and five assists) scored on a scoop, for a 50-29 margin.
The Nets didn’t get anything going offensively in the first half, hitting just 36 percent from the field, but Allen Crabbe (20 points) was 4-of-7 on 3-pointers.
Brooklyn made a quick 12-5 spurt, with eight points from Crabbe, but the Pistons finished the first half with a six points from Drummond and a drive from Harris, for a 63-41 lead at halftime.
Former Piston Spencer Dinwiddie, who had averaged 25.7 points and 6.7 assists for the Nets over the last three games, finished with two points on 1-of-5 shooting. The Pistons’ pick-and-roll defense took away his driving opportunities.
“(Their defense) was very good tonight. It’s basically an antithesis to the way the rest of the league plays,” Dinwiddie said. “The rest of the league is like ‘We’re going to run you off 3s’ and they’re more like ‘We’re going to give you the 3 and if you hit it, you hit it.’”
The strategy worked for the Pistons, who only allowed the Nets 32 percent (12-of-37) from beyond the arc, but only 15 field goals from 2-point range.
“Just give them a lot of credit: they dominated us,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We got off to a decent start and then they just dominated us the rest of the way in every phase of the game — and there’s really not a lot to say much more than that.”