Big things were expected from the Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons after they both retooled their respective rosters in the offseason. Neither team can be all that happy with the results so far as they face off Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit. The Nets are coming off an impressive victory over San Antonio but remain three games below .500, while the Pistons are even worse off - dropping 10 games below the break-even point following a loss to Orlando.
Brooklyn struggled early against a Spurs team missing its four best players, but rallied in the second and third quarters before cruising in the fourth. Facing undermanned San Antonio provided a much-needed respite for the Nets, who play back-to-back home games after their game against Detroit before heading out on a grueling seven-game road trip. Detroit opens a five-game homestand Friday following back-to-back losses in Miami and Orlando.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), FSD (Detroit)
ABOUT THE NETS (22-25): Brooklyn is one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, but took advantage of a small Spurs starting lineup to win the battle of the boards by a 53-38 margin — a total that included 16 offensive rebounds. The performance runs in stark contrast to the 30 rebounds Brooklyn collected in Monday's 108-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. A healthy Andrei Kirilenko should help offset the loss of center Brook Lopez in that department, and the Russian forward had a strong showing with eight boards versus the Spurs.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (19-29): Rebounding certainly isn't a problem for Detroit — it's just about everything else that has plagued the Pistons. Detroit ranks below the league average in field-goal percentage (.447) while sitting dead last in both 3-point percentage (30.6) and free-throw success rate (66.4). A good chunk of the blame for the last two figures falls on the shoulders of free-agent acquisition Josh Smith; the versatile forward has been a defensive force but is shooting just 22.9 percent from beyond the arc and 55.7 percent from the foul line.
1. Detroit has won both meetings this season, averaging 106 points in those games.
2. Smith averages 15.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 32 career games versus the Nets.
3. The Pistons surrender 102.9 points per game, the second-worst mark in the East.