The Denver Nuggets weren’t about to let the Detroit Pistons find any sort of feel good stories against them. Detroit was able to keep with Denver for a half but Jamal Murray was scoring with ease while Nikola Jokic issued masterclass on passing. Meanwhile the Pistons got hit with yet another injury as star Cade Cunningham was unable to finish the game. The differences between the team with the worst record in the league and the team that is the defending champs became clearer and clearer as the game went on and by the time it was over it was a full on blowout. Denver wins going away, 131-114

The Nuggets started off slow from the field. Murray was firing away and got a couple shots to go to keep the game tied. The Nuggets defense challenged every Pistons shot at the rim and kept Denver in the lead but they weren’t able to string together enough makes to grow it. Detroit kept shooting from three and had some success there to also help keep the game tight. As the quarter progressed it stayed back and forth with the Nuggets still clinging to a small lead. The benches checked in with the Nuggets up a couple possessions. Murray came back in to stagger with the reserve group and gave them some offense but the Pistons continued to be pesky with Kevin Knox hitting a couple shots. After one quarter Denver was up 31-29.

Murray opened the second quarter like he did the first, firing away and hitting shots. Otherwise though there wasn’t a ton of offense from the reserve group. Meanwhile the Pistons started to get things rolling. They went on a 13-2 run to take the lead and make Michael Malone take a timeout. After that Reggie Jackson had back to back nice feeds for his teammates to tie the game and then lobbed a pass up to DeAndre Jordan that he finished like it was 2015 DeAndre to take back the lead. Detroit pushed right back and probably would have got the lead back if they’d stop stepping out of bounds on the corners. Murray stayed cooking for the Nuggets while Jokic served as the distributor but the Pistons continued to be able to match Denver’s offensive output. That was saying something because Murray could not miss in the second quarter. The Nuggets closed the quarter strong and were finally able to gain a little separation. The half ended with Denver up 65-57 and Murray with 25 points.

The second half opened with Cunningham not in the lineup for Detroit. Murray continued to be aggressive for the Nuggets and they started to finally grow their lead into double digits. Unfortunately they took their foot off the gas a bit and Detroit pushed the lead back down to eleven which had Malone taking an angry timeout. Out of the TO Murray knocked down a step back three to put him past the thirty point mark with more than eight minutes still left in the third quarter. The Nuggets got a little sloppy with the ball but the talent difference between the two squads was starting to become apparent and the lead stayed north of ten. Jokic was headed towards a career high assists (he fell two short) and picked apart the defense while the bench was checking in. The only thing that slowed him down was the referees getting their feelings hurt that they were missing calls so they called a flopping technical on him (absolutely was not a flop) and then gave him his fourth foul because he apparently didn’t let James Wiseman push him hard enough. Watson got it going with the quarter winding down as the game was quickly turning into a blow out. Jackson hit Watson with a behind the back pass for a breakaway jam to put the exclamation point on a great quarter for Denver. The Nuggets finished the third up 108-85.

Watson continued to give strong minutes to open the fourth, he had his whole game working from the driving to the shooting to the defensive menacing. The Nuggets kept shooting well and the lead kept growing. It started too look like Jokic’s services would not be needed in the fourth quarter. Just when Murray checked out though the Pistons went on a mini-run and pulled the lead back down to seventeen provoking a Denver timeout. The teams were trading baskets from there as the quarter progressed past the halfway mark. With just over four minutes to go Malone pulled the last of the starters off the floor with the Nuggets up twenty. The deep bench fully checked in at the two and a half minute mark and they were predictably sloppy which made this game a nail biter for those who took the Nuggets -16.5. Otherwise it was a laugher and even the Nuggets betting faithful was rewarded when Isaiah Liver missed a three with twenty seconds to go which kept a seventeen point Denver lead intact. Nuggets win easily 131-114.