NEWARK, N.J. – Deron Williams scored 26 points to help the New Jersey Nets beat the Detroit Pistons 99-96 Wednesday night.
Kris Humphries had 18 points, Jordan Farmar added 15 and Shawne Williams 15 for the Nets.
Greg Monroe and Tayshaun Prince scored 21 points each for the Pistons, who have lost 20 of 24 this season. Detroit rookie point guard Brandon Knight added 15 points, Jonas Jerebko had 14 and Walker Russell Jr. 12.
After trailing by 12 points midway through the third quarter, Detroit rallied to pull to 72-71 entering the fourth. The teams exchanged baskets throughout the final quarter, with Williams' playmaking the difference.
Taking advantage of his pass-or-shoot options, Williams routinely broke down Knight. He would then drive, shoot or set up his teammates. Williams shot 12 for 21 from the field and had nine assists on the Nets' 38 baskets.
The game between two of the Eastern Conference's weaker teams was predictably sloppy. In the first quarter, Monroe drove baseline and elevated. He extended his arm a split-second before releasing the ball, which missed the rim by 6 inches. Deron Williams' teammates fumbled a half-dozen of his passes in the first three quarters.
New Jersey took advantage of Detroit's porous perimeter defense, shooting 48 percent from the field and 35 percent on 3s.
The game also marked former Nets coach Lawrence Frank's return to New Jersey for the first time since taking over the Pistons. Frank was 225-241 record in 466 games spanning seven seasons with the Nets, including four straight playoff appearances.
"I love New Jersey. It's home," said Frank, who coached in New Jersey last season as an assistant on the Celtics. "There are a lot of great memories."
NOTES: The Nets dressed only eight players due to injuries to centers Brook Lopez and Mehmet Okur, forward Damion James and guard MarShon Brooks. "(I) can't ever remember having under 10 players," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. . The newest Nets player, veteran swingman Keith Bogans, made his debut against Detroit. "Bogans can play the two or the three, has the respect of the officials (and) can make a three," Johnson said. The coach estimated that Bogans would play "a minimum of 12 minutes." Bogans scored two points in 18 minutes