Pistons stymie Nets for fifth straight winDec 31, 2008 - 11:50 PM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Depleted by injuries, the Detroit Pistons had no choice but to get defensive.
Allen Iverson scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half Wednesday as the banged-up Pistons extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with an 83-75 victory over the New Jersey Nets.
Already without All-Star Richard Hamilton for a third straight game due to a groin injury, the Pistons also were missing forward Antonio McDyess (ribs) and watched center Rasheed Wallace (sore foot) leave early in the second quarter.
The Nets also had to do without one of their key players when Vince Carter was ejected for the second time in his career after picking up back-to-back technical fouls in the second quarter. Carter had to be restrained by teammate Devin Harris and coach Lawrence Frank before leaving the floor.
Iverson, who did not attempt a shot in the first quarter and went without a field goal in the opening half, became more offensive over the final two periods. The four-time scoring champion netted eight points in the third quarter as the Pistons maintained their double-digit halftime advantage.
"I started off real slow. I had a couple good looks in the first half but they didn't fall," Iverson said. "The second half I become more aggressive and shot OK."
Iverson's biggest basket may have been a tough fallaway jumper from the right baseline with 2:41 remaining which gave the Pistons a 77-72 lead. He also hit a pull-up with 1:29 to go and two free throws with 11 seconds left to seal things.
While Iverson was able to find some offense, the Pistons continued their recent defensive prowess. During their winning streak, they have allowed just 83.8 points per game.
"The last 10 games our defense has been pretty good," Pistons coach Michael Curry said. "We've tried to play the big lineup for about 32 minutes as much as we can. You can see it in the shooting percentage (of the opponents). Our guys have bought into the fact that we can win even if we're not scoring or shooting the ball well."
"I just think we have a sense of urgency of that's what we have to do to be successful," Iverson said. "We have to get stops. We've talked a lot about playing help defense, but still being accountable for your man."
The Pistons were at their best on the defensive end in the second quarter, when they held the Nets to 11 points and forced four turnovers.
When Carter was ejected by official Derrick Stafford at the 6:48 mark, the Nets trailed, 26-20. Tayshaun Prince then scored seven of his 16 points in a 14-4 surge to give the Pistons some breathing room.
Rodney Stuckey added 11 points and Arron Afflalo 10 for Detroit, which won despite committing 17 turnovers.
Rookie Brook Lopez scored 23 points and Harris 19 for the Nets (15-17), who fell two games below .500 for the first time this season. New Jersey still owns an impressive 10-5 road record.
Lopez wasn't about to use Carter's ejection as an excuse.
"You can always look at it like Vince wasn't in the game, but I still thought we came out and played hard. We gave ourselves a shot at the end," Lopez said.
Despite being without one of their offensive stars, the Nets used an 18-6 run in the fourth quarter to get back in the game.
"On the road, shorthanded, we gave ourselves a chance," Frank said. "We put ourselves in a position to win a game on the road but we just couldn't make enough shots over the course of time. At least we gave ourselves a chance."
NEW JERSEY 75
DETROIT 83 FINAL
Dec 31 5:34 PM
NEW JERSEY 52
DETROIT 62 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 31 4:56 PM
NEW JERSEY 29
DETROIT 40 HALFTIME
Dec 31 4:14 PM
NEW JERSEY 18
DETROIT 22 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 31 3:39 PM
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