When NBA coaches are standing in front of reporters after a game, you rarely hear them say that their team had little to do with the result and it was all a matter of the opposition's ability to win or lose the game by themselves.
If P.J. Carlesimo was being honest on Wednesday night in Detroit, though, he would have noted that there wasn't anything significantly different about his team's play while beating the Pistons 93-90 than there was in their loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night. He would have just thrown up his hands and thanked the heavens that Detroit doesn't have a player like Kobe Bryant.
That's not the way things work, though, so that means we hear about the Nets showing grit while coming back from a halftime deficit and how the work of the bench was essential to the evening's victory. MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Andray Blatche did play well and the Nets were just as gritty as they needed to be to beat a terrible Pistons team, but honesty requires a different take.
There was no difference in the sluggish Nets offense from the loss to the Lakers, especially when it comes to the team's starting backcourt. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson shot 9-for-24 as a tandem on Wednesday night, which was only slightly off the 9-of-28 Tuesday performance and it came with six more turnovers from Williams.
Sloppy, indifferent defense was not hard to find as the Pistons scored 17 fast break points against a Nets team that seemed totally disinterested in getting back on defense. All of these things were just as big a problem against the Lakers, but the result was a happier one for the Nets.
Are we really supposed to think the Nets were the reason that was the case? Doesn't it make more sense to say that the Lakers had Kobe and Steve Nash to come up with baskets when the time came and the Pistons had Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight?
Nice players, to be sure, but we'll take the Lakers duo when the chips are down 10 times out of 10 and we're pretty sure that's true of everyone else on the planet. The Nets won on Wednesday because the Pistons were 3-of-17 from three and because their turnovers didn't turn into a bevy of Detroit points, two things that had a lot more to do with the Pistons than the Nets.
You don't give back wins so the Nets don't need to apologize for the good fortune of their schedule while on their way to Washington. They shouldn't misinterpret the reason for the win, though, because, as the Knicks learned on Wednesday, the Wizards aren't particularly forgiving of bad habits.