Let’s face it: The New Jersey Nets have not been such a great team on the road the last few years. Notably, they have been at their worst at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit.
The Nets dropped their eighth straight game in Detroit, 92-82, and now fall to 3-24 on the road this season, including losing their last 12.
New Jersey had captured the first two games against the Pistons this year, but those were both at “The Rock” in Newark.
Avery Johnson, who received a $25,000 fine from the NBA for his ejection Wednesday night, inserted Anthony Morrow back into the starting lineup tonight in search of some more punch offensively at the start of games. That plan was unsuccessful tonight as the Pistons opened a 10-4 lead early.
Tayshaun Prince and Ben Gordon had the hot hands early for Detroit. It took the Nets three minutes to record their first field goal.
New Jersey gained some steam once Brook Lopez got it going. He scored eight of the first 13 Nets points. Sasha Vujacic gave the Nets instant offense late in the first quarter as well.
Tracy McGrady added six points, three rebounds and three assists in just 11 minutes of play in the first and helped Detroit take a six-point lead after one.
The Nets started the second quarter with some sloppy play, which allowed Detroit to open a 10-point lead.
However, Morrow went on an 8-0 run by himself to get the Nets back in the game. New Jersey closed to within one on the shoulders of their captains, Lopez and Devin Harris. But the Pistons took a 48-44 lead heading into the break.
Prince led all scorers with 14 points after one half.
A 6-0 Detroit run to start the second half forced Avery Johnson to take a timeout. The Pistons maintained a double-digit lead for most of the third quarter as Prince continued his sharp-shooting from the outside. Detroit led by nine after three.
The Nets had some offensive spurts, but the Pistons responded every time and put the game away with less than five minutes remaining.
Rookie Greg Monroe, who will join Nets rookie Derrick Favors at the NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge, recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The 20 points are a new career-high for Monroe.
Prince finished with 22 points while T-Mac dropped in 16.
Morrow was one of the lone bright spots for the Nets tonight, scoring 22 points. Harris added 13 assists in the losing effort.
The Nets have sorely missed the production of Jordan Farmar, who remains sidelined with an ailing back. He will be reevaluated next week.
Before you settle in to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, tune in to the Nets at 12 p.m. as they return home to take on Danny Granger and the Indiana Pacers.
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