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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CTNaN:� , October 17, 2018
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan  Attendance: 20,332

Pistons look to get season off to good start against Nets

According to STATS
According to STATS

Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons

  1. The Pistons went 3-1 against the Nets last season, outscoring Brooklyn by an average margin of 13.5 points. Detroit scored 210 points in the paint across the four games, the team's most against any single opponent last season.
  2. Detroit shot 37.3 percent from three last season after connecting at a 33.0 percent clip during the 2016-17 season. The +.043 improvement ranked as the highest in the league last year, well ahead of the second-place Sixers, whose percentage jumped +.029.
  3. Brooklyn was one of five teams last season with six players averaging 10.0+ points (played in min. 70 percent of team games). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was the highest scoring among these six players, averaging 13.9 points -- no team had a player lead the team in scoring with a lower average.
  4. The Nets averaged 104.0 points without D'Angelo Russell playing, compared to 108.5 per game with him, but allowed 107.0 points per game without compared to 112.7 with Russell. The Pistons were nearly even without and without Blake Griffin offensively (103.7 vs. 103.8), but allowed more points (105.1 vs. 103.4) with him and finished with a lower win percentage when played (.440 vs. .491).
  5. Andre Drummond averaged 15.0 points, 16.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 blocks last season. He became the first player with a 15.0+, 15.0+, 3.0+, 1.5+ season since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 27.7 points, 16.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.12 blocks for the 1975-76 Lakers.
  6. Caris LeVert dished out 4.2 assists per game last season after averaging 1.9 helpers during his rookie season in 2016-17. LeVert had eight games with eight or more assists -- the Nets went 7-1 in these contests.

Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin are learning how to stay out of each gway.

The better they get at that, the more dangerous the Detroit Pistons will become this season.

Detroit opens at home against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday with high hopes of making the playoffs. The Pistons possess two of the top big men in the Eastern Conference and they're continuing to build chemistry.

Griffin was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in a blockbuster trade in late January but now that duo has enjoyed the benefit of a full training camp together.

In the team's final preseason game against Cleveland, Griffin exploded for 29 points along with three rebounds and five assists, while Drummond bulled his way to 21 points and 15 rebounds.

"It's like having two pit bulls in one house," Drummond said. "You've got to figure each other out. Last game showed how deadly we could be together when we figure things out. It's only going to get better from here."

If Griffin and point guard Reggie Jackson can stay reasonably healthy, the Pistons should be one of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference and reach the postseason. Griffin hasn't played in more than 67 regular-season games over the past four seasons. Jackson has missed big chunks of time the past two seasons due to knee and ankle ailments.

Dwane Casey will be making his regular-season coaching debut with the Pistons. He was hired by Pistons owner Tom Gores after previous head coach Stan Van Gundy was fired after a four-season run. Casey was named Coach of the Year with Toronto last season but lost his job after a playoff flop against Cleveland.

"The time is now," Drummond said. "We have everything we need to be great. There's no reason why we can't be a top team in the East or a top team in the NBA."

Brooklyn remains in a rebuilding mode but expects to be more competitive after going 28-54 last season.

"I don't see any reason why we can't make a push for the playoffs," GM Sean Marks said this offseason. "Isn't that the objective here? We're not sitting here trying to win 20 games, so let's put our best foot forward and push each other and see where it goes."

The Nets used free agency to fortify their bench. They added prolific rebounder Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier, both of whom played for Portland last season.

Brooklyn will rely on its backcourt to provide a majority of its scoring. D'Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie each averaged at least 12 points per game last season.

The Nets will start the season without small forward DeMarre Carroll, who underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday.

"I don't think it's a huge thing," coach Kenny Atkinson told the New York Post. "It was something where we could go back and forth or get this thing cleaned up and get him feeling 100 percent. So it is what it is. I think we have a deeper roster this year. I think we can cover during his absence. Not great news for DeMarre or us, but we've got to push forward."

Crabbe (ankle) is also expected to miss the game and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (adductor) is questionable.

Updated October 17, 2018

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