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12/13/2013 11:23 PM EST
Pistons hold off Nets 103-99
DETROIT 103, BROOKLYN 99

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Andre Drummond is starting to look
more comfortable at the foul line - and on this night, those
extra free throws he made turned out to be crucial.

Drummond had 22 points and 13 rebounds, going 6 of 8 from the
free throw line in Detroit's 103-99 victory over Brooklyn on
Friday night. The Pistons led by 21 early in the third quarter
before holding off a determined rally by the Nets.

Drummond is shooting 41 percent from the foul line on the season
- and that's actually a substantial improvement. At one point he
was 3 for 17, but now he's developed a routine, holding the ball
for several seconds before releasing the shot.

"I work hard at it every day, so the results are going to show
up sooner rather than later," Drummond said. "Tonight was an
example of the hard work I put into it."

The Nets cut their deficit to two before Detroit's Kyle Singler
made two free throws with 10.4 seconds left. The Pistons snapped
a three-game losing streak and ended Brooklyn's three-game
winning streak.

Deron Williams led Brooklyn with 22 points. The Nets were
without center Brook Lopez, who sat out with a sprained left
ankle.

"It doesn't matter who plays for us or who we're playing, we
have to protect the paint and we didn't do that tonight," Nets
coach Jason Kidd said. "There's some improvement - we kept
fighting down the stretch even when we got behind - but we can't
get that far behind."

Greg Monroe added 22 points for the Pistons, and Rodney Stuckey
had 17.

Detroit outscored the Nets 38-20 in the second quarter and led
61-44 at halftime. Brooklyn's Mirza Teletovic, who did not
attempt a shot in the first half, scored 17 points in the
second, making his first five shots from 3-point range. His
final points pulled the Nets within 98-91, and a tip-in by
Andray Blatche cut the margin to five.

Teletovic finally missed from beyond the arc, and Blatche missed
two free throws with 1:38 to play. Then Monroe made a hook
inside to make it 100-93 with 54 seconds left.

Williams was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 51 seconds
left and made all three shots, cutting the lead to four. After
an offensive foul on Josh Smith, the Nets had a chance to pull
even closer, but Detroit's Brandon Jennings knocked the ball out
of bounds off Williams' leg as the Brooklyn guard drove to the
basket, giving the Pistons the ball back with 24 seconds left.

Monroe made one of two free throws with 18.5 seconds to play,
but Paul Pierce's 3-pointer made it 101-99. Singler calmly went
to the line and made both of his free throws to make it a
two-possession game again.

"We've just got to learn from it," Detroit's Chauncey Billups
said after the big lead nearly slipped away. "We've got to just
quit playing not to lose the game. ... If you do, and you get
hesitant and you get passive and the other team gets aggressive,
that's what happens."

With Lopez out, Brooklyn couldn't do much about Drummond and
Monroe inside. Drummond's most impressive play may have been
when he tipped the ball back over his head and into the basket
with one hand after Jennings missed everything on a wild shot
from the perimeter. That gave the Pistons a 50-39 lead.

Drummond had 18 points and seven rebounds at the half, and
Stuckey had 16 points. In the third quarter, Drummond missed a
dunk along the baseline but was able to tip the ball in almost
immediately to give Detroit a 74-55 lead.

"That front line is tough," Blatche said. "They are great
offensive rebounders and they just pounded us out there. The
guards are driving to the basket and the bigs are just all over
the boards. We definitely missed Brook, because at least he's a
big body out there."

Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett surpassed 14,000 rebounds in the second
half. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone as the only
players to reach 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds and 5,000
assists.

NOTES: Stuckey scored a season-high 27 points in a win at
Brooklyn last month. Joe Johnson, who had 34 points for the Nets
in that game, was held to 12 on 5-of-16 shooting on Friday. ...
Garnett was called for a technical foul in the second quarter,
and Blatche was called for flagrantly fouling Drummond with 2:27
left in the half.

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