Pistons hold off Nets in dramatic, back-and-forth contest

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown (6) passes the ball against Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan (6) during the first half.

Detroit — Back and forth. Forth and back. Swing high. Swing low.

The Pistons and Brooklyn Nets traded runs and baskets all the way through a second half in which each team had a double-digit lead.

With a furious rally in the middle of the third quarter, the Pistons surged ahead — and didn’t let the lead slip away in the fourth quarter, escaping with a 113-109 victory over the Nets at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday night.

Andre Drummond filled the stat sheet with 25 points, 20 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals. Luke Kennard added 24 points and four assists.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 113, Nets 109

Bruce Brown, who started at point guard after injuries sidelined Derrick Rose (hamstring soreness) and Tim Frazier (right shoulder strain), had career highs of 22 points and seven assists for the Pistons (3-4), who ended their two-game skid.

“We just continued to be aggressive, taking the shots they gave us. We’ve been struggling a bit to shoot the ball; I’ve been struggling shooting the ball,” said Kennard, who was 8-of-19 from the field but made some key free throws down the stretch, along with Drummond.

“Coach Casey put the ball in my hands a couple of times and he told me to go make a couple of plays. I was just taking the shots they were giving me — everybody was.”

Kyrie Irving posted a triple-double for the Nets (2-4) with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, including 14 points in the fourth quarter. His drive with 17.6 seconds left pulled the Nets within 108-107 but Kennard answered with a pair of free throws.

Spencer Dinwiddie (16 points and six assists) split a pair of free throws and Drummond made one of two to keep it a three-point margin. Taurean Prince (20 points) made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to try to get the offensive rebound.

Drummond grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made both free throws with 3.6 seconds left, for the final margin.

In the third quarter, the Nets had their largest lead, 66-52, at the 7:10 mark, after DeAndre Jordan (10 points and 10 rebounds) scored on a lay-in. The Pistons responded with a 26-4 run to end the quarter with a 78-70 lead.

Kennard had 10 points in the stretch and Brown added six and the Pistons turned things around quickly, getting to their biggest lead, 91-78, at the 8:40 mark, before Irving started his barrage.

“This is the NBA; every roster is filled with good players. Brown really stepped up and played a heck of a game,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I thought Drummond was great and Kennard hurt us. Those guys outplayed us.”

Brown and Kennard were catalysts in the first quarter, combining for nine of the Pistons’ first 19 points, en route to a 19-7 advantage in the first six minutes.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard