Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche (0) goes to the basket against Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Andre Drummond had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons held off a determined Brooklyn rally, beating the Nets 103-99 on Friday night.
Detroit led by 21 early in the third quarter, but the Nets cut the deficit to two before Detroit’s Kyle Singler made two free throws with 10 seconds left. The Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak and ended Brooklyn’s three-game winning streak.
Drummond, who was shooting 38 percent from the foul line coming into the game — and was much worse than that earlier this season — went 6 of 8 on free throws. Those shots ended up being crucial.
Deron Williams led Brooklyn with 22 points. The Nets were without center Brook Lopez, who sat out with a sprained left ankle.
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 left, 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.
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.
And Drummond even looked serviceable on his free throws. At one point this season, he was 3 for 17 from the line, but he’s now developed a routine — holding the ball for several seconds before releasing the shot.
His free throws looked smooth Friday — and they ended up being important.
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.
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.