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Pistons Hold Off Nets

There seems no limit to how low the New Jersey Nets can sink this season.

The Detroit Pistons limited the Nets to a franchise-equaling low of 23 field goals and got 18 points from Bison Dele in beating New Jersey 84-71 Wednesday night.

The Nets' nine second-quarter points were a franchise low, while the 71 points were a season-low for a team that fired coach John Calipari after losing 17 of its first 20 games.

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  • "This kind of knocked the wind out of us," guard Kerry Kittles said after the Nets again failed to post back-to-back wins for the first time this season. "They came out aggressively, played hard and we didn't respond.

    "We got so far behind so quickly, it was tough to come back," he added. "This whole season has been like that."

    Jerry Stackhouse added 17 points, Grant Hill and Jud Buechler had 13 apiece and Lindsay Hunter had 11 for the Pistons, who hit 35 of 69 from the field, 50.7 percent, just two days after a 29-point loss to Milwaukee.

    "This was the best defense we've played in a long time," Pistons coach Alvin Gentry said. "The guys played really hard, did a good job of cutting off Stephon Marbury and then getting back to cover the other people. The guys got together before the game and talked. Whatever they said to each other obviously got through."

    Keith Van Horn led the Nets with 27 points, but he missed an open layup seconds before the final buzzer that could have wiped out the season-low point total, which came against Miami the day before Calipari was fired.

    Stephon Marbury added 16 points, then ripped off his jersey in frustration walking off the court after the final horn. Kerry Kittles had 15 points and Jayson Williams had 17 rebounds.

    Marbury downplayed the jersey incident, saying he does it every game.

    "Tonight we just played bad, man," said Marbury, who was 6 of 20 from the field. "Hey, it's easy for them to deny and hlp when I'm not making shots."

    Detroit never trailed after Stackhouse hit a 3-pointer for a 9-7 lead with 8:44 to play. The lead was 17 after halftime and ballooned to 26 early in the third quarter. New Jersey made a couple of runs, but it never got closer than 11 in the closing minutes because of 23 of 72 shooting, 31.9 percent.

    "We never gave them any hope," Gentry said. "Every time they made a little run we came right back at them."

    The poor play has alienated fans less than a year after the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1994. Not only was the team booed loudly while walking off the court at halftime trailing 46-29, the players were ripped every time they walked to the bench.

    When Kendall Gill walked off the court late in the second quarter, a fan yelled: "Take it to the CBA."

    Gill just glared. He did not talk to the media after the game.

    "I didn't do a double take at (the scoreboard at) halftime because I saw what was happening," Van Horn said. "I think it was obvious why we had 29 points, and we'll adjust it tomorrow."

    Notes: The Nets' previous all-time low in a second quarter was 10 against Milwaukee on Jan. 3, 1990. The 29 first-half points were a season-low for New Jersey ... The Pistons won with Joe Dumars sidelined with a calf injury ... Detroit backup center Christian Laettner was ejected for a flagrant foul against Jayson Williams early in the fourth quarter ... The Pistons' win came just two days after a season-worst 29-point loss to Milwaukee ... The Nets twice scored 23 field goals in a game against Cleveland, the last time in 1997.

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