Kyrie Erupts for 45 as Nets Beat Pistons in Overtime

Eric Webb

In a much-needed win the Nets top the Pistons 121-111 in overtime on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena. This victory broke an ugly 5-game losing streak for Brooklyn where all but one of these losses were by double digits.

Fortunately for the Nets it was one of those nights were Kyrie Irving was feeling it. He erupted for 45 points on 50% shooting from the field and hitting five three pointers. He also added seven assists and six rebounds.

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“I told him I thought in the first half he was a little over zealous. I didn’t think the ball was moving like it should have [been],” said Head Coach Kenny Atkinson. “I thought the second half and overtime he obviously made shots and the 40 points or whatever, but the passes were the trusting your teammates part, and of course great players make free throws at the end of the game. We’ve had problems with that, and it’s cost us games…so him knocking down those free throws [was] huge. That’s why he’s an elite player in this league.”

Atkinson was right on point, especially about the team’s free throw struggles. Brooklyn is at the very bottom of the league in that category (ranked 27th), averaging 73.7% at the free throw line. Tonight they shot 88% as a team. Irving himself went a perfect 10-10 (including hitting all four of his OT free throws).

Although Irving had such an impressive outing, this really was a team win as five of the nine players that played scored in double digits. This win was even more impressive when you consider the lineup change going into tonight that was a bit surprising. Atkinson had Spencer Dinwiddie come off of the bench and started Garrett Temple in his place.

“It had nothing to do with Spencer’s play. Absolutely nothing,” said Atkinson. “It was more can we get Spencer in that ball handling role a little bit more. We all know that’s where he’s great. You saw him and Ky played a ton together tonight. They play well together. I just think Garrett Temple gives us kind of that defensive stopper mentality in that first group. You could put him on the best player, it doesn’t wear Spencer down early.”

Atkinson wasn’t knocking Dinwiddie’s defense by the way because he went on to praise how he defended Derrick Rose tonight who’s the team’s leading scorer. He contributed to Rose shooting a little below his season average from the field.

Overall the Nets played great defense tonight, getting the Pistons to shoot only 41.3% FG and 37.1% 3FG. Brooklyn’s defense was especially impressive in that overtime period, where Detroit shot 20% FG and 33.3% 3FG, scoring five points to the Nets’ 15.

Also fortunately for the Nets it was one of those nights where things were clicking on both sides of the floor. Don’t let Irving’s 45 distract you from the fact that Jarrett Allen notched a double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds. He was the team’s second leading scorer.

Rose led the way for the Pistons with 27 points. Andre Drummond also had a double-double with 20 points and 21 rebounds.

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