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News » Nets-Pistons Preview 2008-12-30

Nets-Pistons Preview 2008-12-30

Nets-Pistons Preview 2008-12-30
Perennially one of the NBA's leading scorers since his 1996-97 rookie season, Allen Iverson initially struggled to adjust to a more balanced offense following a trade to the Detroit Pistons in early November.

Based on recent results, Iverson and the Pistons are getting comfortable with their new arrangement.

They'll go for a season-high fifth straight win Wednesday night when they host the New Jersey Nets.

Iverson, who averaged at least 22.0 points in each of his first 12 seasons, is averaging 18.0 in 25 games with Detroit (18-11) since the club acquired him from Denver on Nov. 3.

Though he admits he's had difficulty adjusting, Iverson appears to be growing accustomed to playing for a team that doesn't need him to shoulder the bulk of the scoring load every night.

The nine-time All-Star was the Pistons' fourth-leading scorer with 15 points in an 88-82 win over Southeast Division-leading Orlando on Monday. Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 19 points, while Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace scored 16 apiece.

"I'm not used to seeing myself with 15 points and knowing that I had a good game," said Iverson, who added six rebounds, four assists and three steals. "Before, even if I only had 20 points, I didn't think I was doing my job.

"This is a different feeling, but I like it a lot. I've won four scoring titles and I've scored 23,000 points, so I've done a lot of big things when it comes to scoring the basketball, but now I've got different goals."

First on that list is winning his first championship ring. Detroit didn't look much like a contender in going 10-11 in Iverson's first 21 games with the team, but it's gotten back on track by winning four straight for the first time since its 4-0 start.

Monday's win was particularly satisfying because the Magic had won seven in a row and the Pistons were without Richard Hamilton for the second consecutive game. The All-Star small forward is day-to-day with a groin injury.

"It does give us some confidence, being the fact they won that many games in a row and they come in here and we're able to get it done," Iverson told the Pistons' official Web site. "... They're a tough team and it shows a lot about the team we're becoming."

The Pistons' progress will likely be tested by the Nets (15-16), one of the best road teams in the NBA with a 10-4 record away from home. New Jersey guards Devin Harris and Vince Carter are near the top of the league in road scoring at 26.7 and 26.4 points per game, respectively.

Both players delivered strong performances at home in New Jersey's last game Monday night, but they didn't get much help in the 100-87 loss to Chicago. Carter had 31 points and Harris added 26 while the rest of the Nets lineup combined for 30 points and 13-for-41 (31.7 percent) shooting from the field.

"It's a tough loss for us," Carter told the Nets' official Web site. "It felt like we had found our way, but then unfortunately the last six minutes we just didn't have enough."

New Jersey, which fell to 5-12 at home, hopes to rebound with its eighth win in nine road games. But that could be tough in Detroit, where the Nets have lost 23 of their last 26 games, including four straight since March 26, 2004.

The Nets won these teams' first meeting 103-96 at home Nov. 7, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Pistons behind 38 points from Harris. Iverson led Detroit with 24 points and six assists in that game, his Pistons debut.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008


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