Detroit nearly squandered a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter but managed to end its three-game losing streak with a 103-99 victory on Friday night at The Palace. Forward Kyle Singler made two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to clinch it.
"A couple of plays didn't work for us down the stretch, but we made three or four stops," Pistons forward Josh Smith said. "It's just a learning experience, just being able to learn how to close out games when we have big leads. We're learning how to execute that much harder and not get lackadaisical whenever we feel like we have the game won."
Guard Chauncey Billups cited a lack of movement offensively.
"It wasn't isolations that got us that lead. We were moving the ball and moving around," he said. "You shouldn't change that. Just play the same way. Sometimes it calls for that, trying to beat the clock up, but not for a whole seven or eight minutes."
Nets power forward Kevin Garnett grabbed his 14,000th rebound during the third quarter, becoming the 10th player in league history to reach that milestone. He is only the third player to have 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Guard Deron Williams led Brooklyn with 22 points and nine assists, and forward Andray Blatche had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets (8-15), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Reserve forward Mirza Teletovic scored 17 points, all in the second half.
"I told those guys after the game I was proud of them for fighting," Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd said. "The one thing we have grown from is giving up a big quarter. Those guys fought and gave ourselves a chance to win on a back-to-back."
Brooklyn played without center Brook Lopez, who sprained his left ankle during its 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. Lopez also missed the first meeting between the clubs, a 109-97 Detroit win at Brooklyn's Barclay Center on Nov. 24.
Lopez's absence was felt on the interior.
Brooklyn, which trailed by 17 at the break, hit four 3-pointers in the third but couldn't get the deficit below 12. The Nets made more headway early in the fourth, using a 13-1 run behind two Teletovic 3-pointers to cut Detroit's lead to 92-83.
The Nets whittled it down to five before Monroe made a jump hook to give Detroit a 100-93 lead. But Williams then hit three free throws with 51 seconds remaining after getting fouled on a 3-point try.
A 3-pointer by Brooklyn forward Paul Pierce made it 101-99 with 11.1 seconds left before Singler answered with two free throws.
"They have a lot of veterans on their team and we have a lot of young guys on our team, so you try to run with the ball," Drummond said. "As soon as you pass it in, try to be quick with it and get a quick basket."
NOTES: Pistons 10-year F Josh Smith was playing in his 700th career game. ... Nets SF Paul Pierce has come off the bench for three consecutive games, doubling his career total in 1,120 games. ... Brooklyn C Brook Lopez has missed 77 games because of injury in the last three seasons after not missing a game in his first three seasons. ... Detroit C Andre Drummond made his 100th career steal during the first half. ... Nets F Andray Blatche was whistled for a Flagrant One foul in the second quarter after whacking Drummond across the face. ... Detroit PG Will Bynum was inactive for the ninth straight game with a left abductor strain. ... The Nets had won their last two games at The Palace after dropping 15 of 17.