The Brooklyn Nets got a much needed 109-101 win over the Detroit Pistons, which included a terrific game from Brook Lopez and a very good first half from Jeremy Lin, however he didn’t play in the second half due to a hamstring injury, which the Nets are hoping ends up being something minor.
It was the second win this season for the Nets, coming off consecutive losses to the Bucks and Bulls, giving up 114 points per game in the defeats. Their defense wasn’t much better against the Pistons, but they were so good on offense (especially in the first half when Lin was playing), their defensive problems which are out there in the open can be left to thwart their games another day. It is the fourth time this season the Nets have scored over 100 points, which is something for a team that struggled badly on offense last season.
From a Jeremy Lin perspective, this was a very good first half. He finished with 10 points in 16 minutes, adding 4 assists (one for some reason wasn’t counted). He should have had two more when a layup of his was disrupted by a Pistons player slapping the backboard, but in the big picture, it didn’t make much difference. Lin had no problem running through and around Ish Smith, and it’s incredible how easier things for him and the Nets are offensively when players around him move, some towards and other away from the basket while he cuts inside.
Lopez scored 34 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and hit 4 three-pointers. By far his best game of the season and in general in a long time. He didn’t settle for outside shots or just hanging near the rim. He moved around, making it difficult for Andre Drummond, who finished with just 6 points and 6 rebounds. The Nets got the guard-rebounding help we talked about, as Kilpatrick finished with 10 boards, while also scored 24 points off the bench. He’s averaging 16.6 points per game, scoring in double figures every time so far.
Kilpatrick looks like he has a very good thing going on with Lin. He moves in sync with Lin, and overall, in their 71-point first half, we saw the Nets execute very well offensively. Once again there was a huge difference between having Lin on the floor (+10) and not having him (only 38 points in the second half), and if Lin really suffered from a hamstring strain, it’s going to be rough adjusting to life without him, considering how badly Isaiah Whitehead has been doing, probably needing some D-League adjustment time as soon as possible. Another player who continues to struggle is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. His defense isn’t good enough to make up for the nothingness he brings on offense, going 0-for-4 from the field, scoring 0 points. It just shows how short the Nets are on quality players when Kenny Atkinson can’t afford to pull him from the lineup.
While you’re reading these words, maybe some news has come out about Lin’s hamstring injury. For now, we’re hearing about a potential hamstring strain. It can be something that disappears within a matter of days, maybe a week, which means just a bit of rest, maybe less minutes, nothing too extreme. It can be a grade 1 strain, which means around two weeks out, but it can be more severe. The problem with hamstring strains is that it’s an injury that can seem to disappear, but returning to action too soon can bring it back, worse than before. Maybe there’s really nothing to worry about for Lin and the Nets, but it isn’t going to be surprising if he isn’t on the roster for their game against the Charlotte Hornets, which is a shame considering what it would mean to him, not to mention how bad the Nets seem to do without him.