The Detroit Pistons seem to be in good position to continue their best stretch of the season.
The Pistons have posted three straight wins - one shy of their victory total through the first 24 games - and will be looking to extend their home win streak over the New Jersey Nets to 10 games Friday night.
Detroit (7-20) is finishing a home-and-home set with New Jersey (8-19) after shooting a season-high 53.4 percent to win 99-92 on the road Wednesday. Greg Monroe recorded his third straight double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“We have to keep this hunger,” said Monroe, averaging 20.7 points and 13.0 boards during the three-game win streak. “We have to continue to play and give these efforts so the wins will come more often. But we have to continue to play like this.”
The Nets beat the visiting Pistons 99-96 the previous Wednesday, but have since lost four straight.
“Our guys gotta understand it’s kinda the same thing when we play a team the first time and especially if we beat them, they’re going to go after us,” New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said. “I hope that we have more energy Friday knowing that they beat us tonight.”
Bouncing back won’t be easy for the Nets, who have dropped nine straight at The Palace of Auburn Hills since a 79-74 victory March 26, 2006. The Pistons have won 28 of the last 31 regular-season matchups at home.
Detroit, seeking its first four-game win streak since a five-game run Dec. 4-12, 2009, has won consecutive games at home. Led by Monroe, the Pistons are averaging 49.3 points in the paint over the last three contests overall.
“We’re gaining more confidence in each other and in what we do and finding a way to dig in a little bit deeper,” coach Lawrence Frank said. “The spirit of our team over our last three games has been a unified effort whether the guys are playing or not playing.”
Detroit also is getting healthier. Ben Gordon scored 14 points off the bench Wednesday after missing the previous 10 games with a sore left shoulder.
“It was fun,” Gordon said. “I hate missing games, especially in a shortened season, so it was good to get out there and help my team win another game.”
Will Bynum dressed Wednesday but missed his 15th straight contest with a strained right foot tendon. Bynum could play Friday.
“When we saw those guys in their warmups, even if they didn’t play, guys were more ready to play,” forward Tayshaun Prince said.
Deron Williams had 34 points for New Jersey, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and is averaging 26.3 over the last nine games.
The second quarters have proved to be decisive in the first two matchups. Both games were tied after one period, with New Jersey enjoying an 11-point edge in the second of its victory and Detroit a 12-point bulge Wednesday.
These teams are last in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense, with New Jersey at 47.8 and Detroit at 49.0.