The Nets don’t need to look at the referees for the culprits in this one. They just need to look in the mirror. Or at the game film.
Either way, they won’t like what they see.
After a week of buzzer-beaters, they looked weak taking a beating. After five nail-biters decided by a total of 10 points, they trailed by four times that at one point Wednesday, getting humiliated 114-80 by the Pistons. They got run out of their own building in front of 13,457 irritated fans at Barclays Center.
“They dominated us,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We got off to a decent start and then they dominated us the rest of the way in every phase of the game, and there’s really not a lot to say much more than that. … [I’m] disappointed for our fans. A great crowd out there. We obviously do not like those type of losses. It hurts your individual pride, your competitive spirits.”
Those aforementioned fans sure didn’t like it, either. When Caris LeVert’s turnover gave Luke Kennard a breakaway dunk and left the Nets in a 104-64 hole, boos came from the floor seats to the rafters and everywhere in between. One spectator yelled out: “You’re embarrassing yourselves!” And he wasn’t wrong.
“It was embarrassing — I mean, to lose by 30 at home, that sucks,” said Allen Crabbe, who shrugged off a shin injury that had him listed as doubtful and finished with a team-high 20 points. It might have been Brooklyn’s only bright spot all night.
The Nets got roughed up inside, ourebounded 54-35 — 11-2 on the offensive glass. They got bullied by Detroit center Andre Drummond, who had 22 points and a game-high 20 rebounds before being rested for much of the garbage-time fourth quarter. And they made the Pistons (22-18) look like a well-oiled machine, letting them shoot 51.6 percent from the floor and 10-of-21 from 3-point range.
“They were just the aggressor, more physical,” Crabbe said. “They made us turn the ball over. They basically had control of the game, majority of the game. Like I said, trying to play catchup in this league is not easy. They kept their foot on the gas and we just couldn’t win through the storm.
“They turned us over, allowed them to get their own breaks. They got some easy ones. It seemed like they weren’t missing shots at all tonight. Like I said, they got whatever they wanted. They were just comfortable and basically did whatever.”
After having the score briefly knotted early on — at 24 on Jarrett Allen’s dunk with 2:26 left in the first quarter — the Nets (15-26) quickly capitulated.
They allowed a 26-5 run over the next 8 ½ minutes to let the game get away. They missed 10-of-11 shots, committed five turnovers — three by LeVert — and found themselves down 50-29 after Ish Smith’s layup with 5:52 left in the half.
The Nets even let Pistons two-way prospect Dwight Buycks score eight of his career-high 17 points in that huge run. The deficit just kept swelling, from 90-61 after three quarters to 40 points in the fourth.
Long Island native Tobias Harris had a game-high-tying 22 points on 10-of-14 from the floor for Detroit. Meanwhile, Spencer Dinwiddie — traded away by the Pistons and honest about his extra incentive to beat his old team — had a rare off night. He had exceeded 20 points in his previous three games but mustered just two on 1-of-5 shooting.
“Spencer’s been playing unbelievably,” Smith said. “He’s been playing really, really well. So when you stop his initial thrusts and make him pass it or make him go another way without going downhill, it makes the defense so much better.”