Detroit Pistons-Nets: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Detroit Pistons guard Delon Wright (55) shoots the ball over Brooklyn Nets guard Bruce Brown (1) during the fourth quarter. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Delon Wright (55) shoots the ball over Brooklyn Nets guard Bruce Brown (1) during the fourth quarter. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Pistons cruised to a 122-111 win over the Brooklyn Nets (really) on Tuesday night, as they continued their mind-boggling trend of only beating teams near the top of the standings.

Many NBA followers expect the finals to be between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. Judging by the past two games, the Detroit Pistons must be right there with them.

A few days after pushing the Lakers to double overtime, the Pistons rolled over the Nets, actually fairly easily.

Brooklyn did not have Kevin Durant due to health & safety protocols but James Harden and Kyrie Irving were there, and combined for 51 points.  What was not there was defense by the Nets.

Here is the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the game

Detroit Pistons: The Good

Jerami Grant: Even ex-teammate Bruce Brown could not stop him. For the second game in a row, Jerami Grant scored 32 points. He also had five rebounds and four assists, and, defensively, guarded Harden.

Harden and Irving are locks to make the NBA All-Star team, but Grant outplayed them both.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: It’s simple – Jerami Grant should be a NBA All-Star. light

Saddiq Bey: The knock on the rookie has been that he does not look to score except on three-point shots. But Saddiq Bey was making everything this game, twos and threes.

The 6-foot-7 Villanova product scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter, going a perfect 6-for-6, including three- three-pointers.

According to USA Today, Bey has 36 three-pointers on the season and that breaks the team record for the most 3s over the first 22 games for a rookie, passing the 33 of Brandon Knight in the 2011-12 season.

Bey’s hot shooting down the stretch is something the Pistons would love for him to continue to show.

Mason Plumlee: He was playing so well, coach Dwane Casey had him in for 38 minutes. Plumlee is not a rim-protector on defense or a player with a lot of moves on offense, but he does all the little things that help the team.

The Olympic team finalist finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks (maybe he is a rim-protector) and two steals. With the Nets having very little inside, Plumlee was free to make his mark.

Delon Wright: Facing a backcourt of James Harden and Kyrie Irving, Wright had a major task ahead of him. For the second game in a row, Wright shined against tough competition, netting 22 points and nine assists (to only two turnovers).

With the trade for point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (who should be eligible to play next game), Wright is picking a good time to shine.

Detroit Pistons: The Bad

Blake Griffin: He was OK, but facing an opponent that can’t play defense, and has a doughnut in the middle of its defense, Blake Griffin should have done better than nine points and five rebounds in 31 minutes.

For part of the game, Griffin was being guarded by Harden, who he should have eaten alive. He took 11 shots in the game, five of them three-pointers (making one) even though he had total mismatches when he posted up.

No Kevin Durant: It would have been neat for the Pistons to face the Big 3 of Durant, Harden and Irving. If Durant was actually unable to play for health reasons, it would be acceptable, but he is out until Friday due to an arcane NBA protocol rule.

Last Friday he was driven around by a person who later tested for COVID-19 and Durant was pulled in the third quarter of a game. Durant has already had the virus, but due to contact tracing, he must sit for a week. Somehow the rest of the team was cleared to play, even though they had been around him. Just strange.

Detroit Pistons: The Ugly

Brooklyn Nets defense: The trade for James Harden was suppose to pretty much lock up the Eastern Conference title for the Nets. However, the Nets roster was stripped pretty much bare except for the Big 3, and outside of Bruce Brown, no one left can play defense.

The Pistons looked offensively like the 2017 Warriors in the first quarter, scoring a season-high 38 points. Their 122 points for the game is also a season best (for a regulation game).

The Nets are now 14-12 on the season and have lost three straight. Maybe they should wait a bit before raising that championship banner.

Next. Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose is gone. What’s next?. dark

Detroit is now 6-18 on the season, with all of its wins against teams that are locks to make the playoffs. Do the Pistons just try harder against the better teams, or do the better teams relax, thinking Detroit will be an easy win? Whatever it is, the Pistons are trouble for the top teams.

Since apparently there is some law the Pistons can not play a team with a losing record, next up is a Thursday night matchup with the Indiana Pacers,