AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Pistons weren't apologizing after their latest victory -- especially considering the three-game losing streak they carried into Friday night.
It looked like the streak would end easily when they forged a 21-point lead in the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets.
But they needed a key bucket from Greg Monroe and two Kyle Singler free throws to hold off the Nets in the 103-99 victory.
The fourth quarter featured stagnant offense as the Nets started double-teaming the Pistons' inside threats at every opportunity.
There was also confusion on defense as the Nets started posting up Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, who both would find open shooters after drawing double-teams.
But a win is a win.
When faced with questions about why the Pistons turned what looked to be an easy victory into a nail-bitter, coach Maurice Cheeks said: "C'mon, fellas. In the NBA there are always teams that make runs. Certainly we don't want that team to make a run on us and win the game. We did win the game, and we're going to take that as a positive."
The Pistons (11-13) were powered by Rodney Stuckey's 16 points in taking a 61-44 halftime lead. Stuckey scored just one point in the second half.
And when Singler hit a short jumper with 11 minutes left to make the score, 91-70, it looked like the Pistons would win easily.
But the Nets went to small ball with Williams (22 points, nine assists) posting up. Defenders would go over to help and he would find Mirza Teletovic, who had three triples in the fourth.
And when Andray Blatche tipped in a shot with 2:54 left, the lead was down to 98-93.
The teams went scoreless for two minutes when Monroe scored on a hook shot with the shot clock counting down to give the Pistons some breathing room.
Williams was fouled shooting a triple and made all the freebies to make the score 100-96.
Josh Smith committed an offensive foul, but Brandon Jennings forced a Williams turnover.
Monroe added a free throw to make the score 101-96, but Paul Pierce nailed a triple with 11.1 seconds left to make the count 101-99.
Singler eased the worries with two free throws with 10.4 seconds left.
"We needed that cushion," Cheeks said with a laugh.
Smith added: "It's a learning experience just being able to learn how to close out games when we have big leads -- especially the way we had throughout the whole game."
Monroe finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Andre Drummond had 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Jennings struggled to score only eight points to go along with four assists. He did commit only one turnover in 35 minutes of action.
It was a tough assignment trying to check the Nets' Williams, but it's an area where Jennings has to improve.
"To be a complete player you got to play both ends," Jennings said before the game. "In this league, it's definitely hard to guard guys one-on-one."
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