Weekend washout: Kyrie Irving's 45-point outing crushes Pistons in overtime loss to Nets

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News

Detroit — It’s just a late January home stand, but a lost weekend for the Pistons that presented a glimmer of hope and opportunity ended Saturday with another loss.

This time, Detroit fell 121-111 to Brooklyn in overtime, falling 3.5 games out of the Eastern Conference playoffs after an 0-2 weekend that with a few alternate endings could’ve moved the Pistons inside the postseason field.

Kyrie Irving scored 45 points to lift the Nets, shooting 15 for 30 from the field and 10 for 10 on free throws, including four in overtime. It was his second-highest output of the season behind his 50-point effort against Minnesota in October.

Pistons coach Dwane Casey started to call Irving's night an "out of body experience," but cut himself off before it fully left his mouth, realizing the star guard has done this plenty of times before.

"That's why he's one of the best in the league," Casey said. "That's why he is who he is."

One night after losing at home to Memphis, the Pistons fell despite another scoring burst from Derrick Rose, who scored 27. It was the 12th straight game for Rose with 20 or more points, a career-long streak for the former MVP, and he has the longest such streak for a Detroit player since Jerry Stackhouse's 21-game run in 2001.

Rose picked up a loose ball late in regulation and made a contested layup with 1.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the game and force overtime.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives on the Detroit Pistons in the second half.

Andre Drummond had 20 points and 21 rebounds, his eighth game this season reaching 20 or more points and 20 or more rebounds. It was Drummond's 40th career 20/20 game, five short of Bob Lanier's Pistons record of 45.

Drummond had surgery on his mouth and had a tooth knocked out Monday. He said the tooth was replaced by a fake one.

"It's a long week, a long week for me, but I'm fine now obviously," Drummond said. "I have a long way to go, probably like a month left of (dental) work to go, but I'm still here, so..."

Svi Mykhailiuk had 19 points as his hot streak continued. Mykhailiuk scored in double figures in three of his first 23 games of the season. Since then, he’s scored 10 or more in 16 of his last 19.

After missing two games because of a lip laceration suffered Monday in Washington, Drummond had a double-double less than 9 minutes into the game.

BOX SCORE: Nets 121, Pistons 111, OT

The Pistons led 60-50 at halftime, but Irving scored 15 points in the first 3 minutes, 24 seconds after halftime to make it 69-67.

The Pistons opened the fourth quarter with a 13-3 run to open a 90-83 lead with 9:07 remaining.

But it was too much Irving down the stretch, though his 3-pointer at the end of regulation rimmed away, setting up the third Pistons overtime finish in the last six home games.  The Pistons lost them all.

For the Pistons, Bruce Brown had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Casey also praised Brown's defense of Irving despite the point guard's big numbers.

Brown also credited the Nets with motivating him to improve his outside shot this offseason. He said Brooklyn's strategy of leaving him alone at the 3-point line helped force him to the gym this summer.

"They disrespected me so that made me get in the gym and want to be better," Brown said. "They just sat in the paint last year. They tried to do the same thing last year but it didn't work."

The second-year guard shot 3 for 6 on 3-pointers, tying his career high for made 3-pointers. His 3-point percentage is now at 34.7 percent after converting at 25.8 percent last season.

It's all part of the growth of the team's young players, such as Christian Wood, who scored 10 points. The young players have had to step up in part because of injuries to players like Blake Griffin, Luke Kennard, Tony Snell and Reggie Jackson, who missed Saturday's game.

"It hurts right now, I hate losing," Casey said. "But there's some growth, some inner growth with these guys.

"We are where we are. The health angels haven't been good to us, so that puts us in a situation where these guys have to produce and have to play right now.

"Our young core is right there and we can take solace in that. But still, it still hurts to lose if you're a competitor in this league. I told the guys, we never get satisfied with losing. Never. You don't want to ever because it's hard to get it out of your locker room. That stench, whatever it is, it's hard to get out."

Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) blocks a Detroit Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya (45) dunk in the first half

Sekou Doumbouya started and went scoreless in 17 minutes after his early dunk attempt was blocked by Nets center Jarrett Allen.

"Typical rookie wall," Casey said. "I think he got a little rattled a little bit when he got his dunk blocked. You've got to go: Next play. He'll bounce out of it."

Allen had 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for the Nets.

Detroit tied a season-low with eight turnovers despite the extra session and attempted a season-high 104 field goals.

The teams will meet again Wednesday in Brooklyn in Detroit’s first of two ESPN appearances this season.

The Pistons play host to Cleveland on Monday in the finale of the current four-game home stand.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.