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Nets grab victory, but Pistons cover

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NEW YORK (AP) - Brook Lopez scored 20 points and Andray Blatche added 15 as the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets held off the Detroit Pistons 103-99 on Wednesday night.

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Kris Humphries had 11 points and Joe Johnson added 10 for Brooklyn, winners of two straight. The Nets wrapped up their first regular season after leaving New Jersey and will open their first playoff series in six years at home against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

The Bulls clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference when Atlanta lost to the New York Knicks. Chicago won three of four against Brooklyn this season, including two at home.

Will Bynum had 23 points for the Pistons, who snapped a four-game winning streak. Andre Drummond scored 13 points and Greg Monroe added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Detroit will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, totaling 201 losses in that stretch.

Brooklyn led by as many as 21 points and almost saw their reserves squander a 15 point lead with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter after Blatche's 3-pointer made it 103-88.

However, the Pistons scored the game's last 11 points, capped by Kim English's free throw with 53 seconds to go. Brooklyn then committed an 8-second violation, but the Pistons missed their final three shots.

All five regular starters were on the floor for Brooklyn after Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo followed a custom of many playoff-bound teams and gave them the night off Monday night against Philadelphia. They played the entire first quarter against the Pistons and opened up the second half before exiting with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter with Reggie Evans staying behind.

The Nets' last playoff appearance came during the 2006-07 season. Riddled with injuries, the Nets fell to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs that year.

Before the Nets opened their 2008-09 season, the organization broke up the team and traded away Jason Kidd to Dallas and Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee, going with a youth movement. Vince Carter was gone weeks after the season ended.

If Brooklyn advances past the first round, they will likely face the top-seeded and defending champion Miami Heat and James.

Tied at 18 after Stuckey's layup with 3:34 left in the first quarter, the Nets closed the opening period on a 13-0 run - keyed by Gerald Wallace, who had been struggling all season long.

Wallace was on the receiving end of an alley-oop from Deron Williams to make it 20-18. He then got a steal and took it to the rim for a one-handed dunk to give the Nets a 20-18 lead with 2:35 remaining in the quarter. Wallace then got a block and after the Pistons were turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation, he fed Lopez for a jumper to extend the lead to 24-18.

After a pair of 3-point misses by Detroit, Wallace picked off Khris Middleton' pass and got an assist off of Williams' 3 that made it 27-18.

NOTES: Brooklyn went (26-15) at home this season. . Throughout the night, Brooklyn implored fans to dress all in black as part of their ``Black Out in Brooklyn'' theme when they host their first playoff game in the borough.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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