Pistons vs Nuggets Game Preview - February 8, 2014
Regular Season Game #50
The Detroit Pistons are hoping a relatively strong performance will help get them on the right track following a rough stretch.
They'll look to win a fourth straight home contest while ending a six-game losing streak to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
Detroit (20-29) went into Friday's matchup with Brooklyn having dropped six of eight, but it led by as many as 29 and hung on for a 111-95 victory over visiting Brooklyn.
Brandon Jennings narrowly missed a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, while Andre Drummond finished with 16 points and a career-high 22 rebounds.
Josh Smith finished with 23 points before leaving late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. He's shooting just 41.7 percent on the season, but he's hit 57.1 percent over his last two, including a 25-point effort in Wednesday's loss to Orlando.
Though the Pistons dominated a large chunk of Friday's contest, coach Maurice Cheeks wasn't pleased that Brooklyn managed to cut the lead to nine in the final minutes.
"Fortunately, we had a huge lead, but that is still something we really need to work on," Cheeks said. "I think we need to win a couple games in the fourth quarter and find some confidence."
Kyle Singler started his second straight game and finished with 16 points. He's gotten the nod over rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had started the previous 40 before having his minutes reduced drastically.
Caldwell-Pope has gone scoreless while missing his only three field-goal attempts over the last three games, playing a total of 28:39 in that span.
Will Bynum didn't play after having a run-in with Cheeks during Wednesday's loss. Cheeks didn't say anything about the situation other than he wanted Chauncey Billups, who didn't play in the previous 11 games, to get more minutes.
Billups played for the Nuggets the last time the Pistons beat Denver on Dec. 10, 2009. He may get a chance to face his former team, which is coming off a 117-90 loss to New York on Friday.
The Nuggets (24-24) had won two straight, but they fell for the third time in their last four road contests. Ty Lawson scored 24 points and added seven assists as Denver allowed 100 points for the 11th time in 12 games.
"I thought we were playing against the Spurs," Lawson said. "They know they pass to one side, kick, kick, and it opens 3s. It was just a tough night for us."
The Nuggets, allowing 103.5 points per game to rank among the worst in the league, are averaging 22.0 turnovers over their last four after committing 24 against the Knicks.
"I think (toward) the end of the second quarter, when it was 44-44, we got five turnovers in a row and couldn't get a shot up. That kind of pushed their lead," said Kenneth Faried, who had a team-worst five giveaways. "They got the lead and after that I guess it was curtains."
Denver is allowing an average of 114.7 points while going 3-7 over its last 10 on the road.