It wasn’t a classic point guard line for Jeremy Lin, but it’s a good bet that Nets fans will settle for 21 points in 17 minutes even if Lin had only one assist. Lin’s explosiveness and strong three-point shooting were the highlights of the Nets’ 101-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons in their preseason opener Thursday night at Barclays Center.
Despite the lack of assists, the ball definitely moved when Lin was on the floor and he drained 7 of 11 shots when he was the open man. The Nets made 14 of 34 three-point attempts, including 5 of 8 by Lin. The Nets also got 12 points from guard Joe Harris and 10 from Luis Scola. Brook Lopez had eight points.
“The important thing is for me not to get carried away,” Lin said of his Nets debut. “Last year, I had a great preseason, and it counted for nothing. When we started playing, I struggled coming out of the gate. I’m not going to get caught up in anything other than I felt like I played confident tonight, and that’s something I can carry over.”
First-year coach Kenny Atkinson was generally happy with his team’s offensive performance and said the high number of three-point attempts were dictated by what the Pistons’ defense was giving them.
As for the new technique Lin has been working on to improve his three-point shooting, Atkinson said, “I was really happy that he’s trusting his catch-and-shoot. I think it’s a really good shot, and it’s technically sound. If he’s open, we want him to shoot it.”
In his new role as starting point guard, Lin said his goal is to make the players around him better. He’s expected to work well in the pick-and-roll with Lopez, but on this night, they hardly ran any.
“I guess tonight we didn’t really need it . . . , but there are going to be times where we’re going to be more heavy pick-and-roll,” Lin said. “But tonight, we were getting good shots, it was flowing and the guys were finding me. That’s unselfish basketball, and I was the recipient tonight.”
Atkinson was upset with his team’s defense in the first half, when Detroit took a 59-57 lead and shot 58.1 percent. Andre Drummond and Marcus Morris scored 17 points apiece for the Pistons and Long Island’s Tobias Harris added 15. But Detroit scored only 35 second-half points and shot 30.4 percent.
While the defense is a work in progress, the Nets have a point guard who can be a difference-maker. “I don’t know if I had any assists tonight, but I felt like I was making the right play,” Lin said. “The No. 1 target for me is to make the right play every time.”
National anthem gesture. Lin said the Nets put their arms over each other’s shoulders during the national anthem as a gesture of solidarity aimed at mending divisions that have arisen over police shootings of unarmed African-Americans. Said Lin, “We as a team and I as a person and we as an organization want to be able to do things in the community going forward to promote the same message.”