Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets Pick & Prediction MARCH 7th 2024

The Brooklyn Nets are still within striking distance of a play-in berth. The first two opponents of a five-game road trip present a good opportunity to improve their chances.

The Nets will begin the trek with a visit to Detroit on Thursday. They’ll head to Charlotte on Saturday for the second leg of the journey.

The Pistons and Hornets are two of the four teams below them in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Nets are 12 games below .500 but they have won three of their last four games, including a 112-107 decision over Philadelphia on Tuesday. Brooklyn rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final quarter.

“(I was impressed with) their resilience,” interim coach Kevin Ollie said. “We talked about that earlier. Philly came out and they were up by about 14 points and we just dug in, stayed together, stayed connected, challenged the guys in our pregame walk-through that we need to stay together, connectivity. And they did that.”

Brooklyn’s top player, Mikal Bridges, was held to 15 points. Dorian Finney-Smith and Dennis Schroder picked up the slack with 20 points apiece and Lonnie Walker IV provided 19 off the bench.

“Coach’s been telling us to respond. That’s something he’s been challenging us to do, stick together when things get bad when things aren’t going our way and we’re not making shots,” Finney-Smith said. “And they came out and hit us in the face first, but we responded well.”

Ben Simmons and Cam Thomas missed the game due to injuries. Starting wing Cam Johnson suffered a right ankle sprain during the first half on Tuesday and did not return.

The Nets won the first two contests of the four-game season series against Detroit during back-to-back contests in late December. They posted a 126-115 home victory on Dec. 23 and a 118-112 road win three days later with Bridges averaging 25 points.

The Pistons have lost three in a row and nine of their last 10 games. They gave Miami a tussle on Tuesday before succumbing, 118-110.

Forward Simone Fontecchio scored 22 points off the bench. Fontecchio was acquired from Utah just before last month’s trade deadline.

“I love the way he plays the game,” coach Monty Williams said. “You talk about the offense, I thought his defense was rock-solid (Tuesday). He doesn’t back away from a matchup. He’s not a guy that we have to worry about keeping in coverage so he doesn’t have to guard a prime-time guy.

“He guards everybody. His ability to knock down shots, attack the paint, he’s an efficient passer. He’s been a great asset to our program and somebody we believe in going forward.”

Fontecchio will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Barring a wildly extravagant offer from another club, the Pistons are expected to re-sign him. He’s averaging 15 points in 10 games (five starts) with Detroit.

“Honestly the more I play, the more I’m happy,” he said. “I’m ready to do whatever to help the team, to help the second unit, too. We’ve got a lot of young guys coming in from the second unit. I want to be a leader for them and help them play the right way.”

–Field Level Media

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