DeMarre Carroll’s injury isn’t serious. D’Angelo Russell is practicing again. It’s not new news, but it’s good news, and possibly the only positive thing the Nets can take away from Wednesday night’s drubbing is that help soon may be on the way.
After hanging tough against the Raptors and the Celtics, and edging out the Timberwolves and the Magic, the Nets collapsed against the Pistons, appearing sloppy and drained on the way to a 114-80 loss at Barclays Center.
The Nets’ previous five games have been decided by three points or fewer, but Wednesday’s was a laugher from the second quarter on, as Andre Drummond did what Andre Drummond does against teams not playing their best basketball.
“That’s no excuse,” Spencer Dinwiddie said of the last few games. “We have to do our job. We came out here and we laid an egg. That’s inexcusable. It’s unacceptable. But for every team it happens every so often in the league. Every team is going to have a couple games a year that are like that and unfortunately, tonight was that night for us. We’re going to look to flush it and get back to business.”
Drummond had 22 points, 20 rebounds and five assists, doing the bulk of his work in the first half. Four other Pistons, including Tobias Harris (22 points) scored in double digits.
If there was a bright side for the Nets, it came in the form of Allen Crabbe, who went from doubtful (he had an injured shin) to their biggest scoring threat — he had 20 points, giving him 20 or more in back-to-back games.
Crabbe’s fortuitous turn is the latest in a string of good fortune for a team beset by the injury bug since the beginning of the season: Carroll, who appeared to gravely injure his knee Saturday, is only day to day with a sprain, while Russell, who has missed 28 games after arthroscopic knee surgery, practiced this week.
And that’s where the good news ends.
The Pistons cracked the 100-point mark less than three minutes into the fourth quarter and the Nets weren’t close for the majority of the game. The Nets shot 36.5 percent from the field and ended up giving up 23 points on 20 turnovers. The Pistons scored 53 points in the paint.
“Give them a lot of credit,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “They dominated us. We got off to a decent start and they dominated us the rest of the way in every phase of the game . . . We couldn’t stop them, that was the first case. We were missing a lot of shots. When you’re missing all the time and you’re running back, running back, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense.”
Added Dinwiddie: “As a collective, we didn’t make shots and that ignited their break. They did a good job of converting in transition . . . Also, Dre was a beast on offensive boards so they got even more shots. They shot a higher percentage with more attempts and we couldn’t hit shots with lower attempts.”
After Jarrett Allen’s dunk with 2:26 left in the first quarter tied the score at 24 for the Nets, the Pistons erupted for a 17-2 run, carrying them three minutes into the second quarter. It got progressively more dire from there, as the Nets failed to execute on either side of the ball — looking out of sync and out of gas after what’s been a trying stretch.
The Nets shot 4-for-16 in the second quarter and committed seven turnovers, three by Caris LeVert, who finished with six. The Pistons dominated on the offensive boards, grabbing six in the second quarter to the Nets’ one, and scoring six second- chance points. The Nets went into the break trailing 63-41 and showed they had little answer for Drummond, who scored 14 points in the first half, and never recovered.
“You’ve just got to erase it out of your mind,” Crabbe said. “It was embarrassing to lose by 30 at home.”