Detroit Pistons use hot start, Jerami Grant to upset Brooklyn Nets, 122-111

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II | Detroit Free Press

After putting together one of their best performances of the season in a double-overtime road loss against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, the Detroit Pistons entered their first home game in nearly two weeks with an opportunity to build on their momentum.

The Brooklyn Nets have one of the NBA’s most-stacked rosters after trading for James Harden last month. But they were without Kevin Durant on Tuesday due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

The Pistons capitalized, handing the Nets a 122-111 loss at Little Caesars Arena to improve to 6-18 at the season’s one-third mark.

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Jerami Grant had one of his best performances of the season with 32 points, five rebounds and four assists. Delon Wright added 22 points, nine assists and four rebounds, and Mason Plumlee had 14 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks.

Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey helped put the game away with a spectacular fourth quarter, going 6-for-6, including three 3-pointers, to score all 15 of his points.

Kyrie Irving led the Nets (14-12) with 27 points and seven assists, and Harden added 24 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and five blocks. He committed six turnovers.

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Hot start sets Pistons up for success

On Saturday, the Pistons snapped a streak of cold first quarters against the Lakers. Detroit had shot 22-for-71 overall in its previous three first quarters, and it was a key reason why they went 0-4 during last week’s road trip. In the first quarter against the Lakers, they shot 10-for-21 and entered the second quarter with a narrow lead — which helped them remain competitive against the defending champs.

That momentum carried over, as the Pistons had their best first quarter of the season against the Nets. They made 16 of 24 attempts and scored a season-high 38 points in the period. They went into the second quarter with a 12-point lead, their biggest advantage after the opening quarter since they led the Miami Heat by 12 points on Jan. 18.

The Pistons have been much better in second halves than first halves this season, and cold starts are one of several reasons behind their record. They’re 4-7 when they end the first quarter with a lead this season, and 1-11 when they end the first facing a deficit.

While maintaining leads has been an issue at times this season, it wasn’t Tuesday. Detroit extended its lead to 20 points early in the second, 49-29, and never trailed after 10:57 mark of the first.

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Jerami Grant, elite shooter

Grant has comfortably been Detroit’s best player on both sides of the floor this season. His consistency on defense hasn’t been surprising, but his continued evolution as an offensive weapon has become one of the NBA’s more interesting storylines. He’s off to a hot offensive start this season and has entered the Pistons’ record books in several categories.

On Tuesday, he extended his streak of hitting at least two 3-pointers to 23 games. He already owned the franchise record, but became the 10th player in NBA history to reach such a streak when he made his second 3-pointer midway through the third quarter.

Grant has become one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters, and he’s on pace to have his best season from behind the arc. His career-high in makes and attempts was with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018-19, when he went 115-for-293 from 3. He’s 62-for-157 through 24 games this season, and averaging a career-high in attempts per game (6.5).

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It’s one of the primary reasons why he has been such a consistent scorer, and why he’s currently top-10 in frontcourt All-Star votes in the Eastern Conference. Before the game, coach Dwane Casey said Grant is his pick for the Most Improved Player award. He should certainly be in consideration, at this pace.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

 

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