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Game 58 Preview and Thread: Nuggets vs Pistons (7pm MST)

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Billups_vs_pistons_medium The Good News: In three games versus his former team, Chauncey Billups is averaging 28.3 points per game. The Bad News: The Nuggets are 0-3 against the Pistons since adding Billups.

The particulars ...

Records:
Denver:
38-19 (24-5 at home, 14-14 on the road)
Detroit:
21-36 (14-16 at home, 7-20 on the road)
Denver current streak: Won 2. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Detroit current streak: Lost 1. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Injuries:
Denver: Renaldo Balkman
(mid-back strain) is out and his status is listed as day-to-day. Kenyon Martin (left knee contusion) is a game time decision tonight.
Detroit: Chris Wilcox (sore back) is questionable.

Opposition's Take: Detroit Bad Boys


Good news for people who love bad news ...

Good News: Since Chauncey Billups' first game with the Nuggets (this time around) on November 7, 2008 against the Dallas Mavericks, Denver has defeated 28 NBA teams at least once.

Bad News: The Billups led Nuggets have yet to defeat only one NBA team ... the Detroit Pistons (0-3). It's time to remedy that tonight.

Good News: The Pistons are currently 21-36 this season, but don't let their record fool you too much. Tayshaun Prince has missed 32 games this season, Richard Hamilton has missed 27 games and free agent prize Ben Gordon has missed 19 games. If the Pistons weren't decimated by injuries this season they could easily be in the playoff hunt in the East and we all know how the Nuggets love beating up on playoff bound teams.

Bad News: The Pistons are currently still a sub .500 team.

Good News: In their first meeting this season on December 10th, Melo finished the night 16-28 from the field (57.1%) and scored 40 points against the Pistons in 43 minutes.

Bad News: Rookie second-round pick Jonas Jerebko (12 points) and reserve Charlie Villanueva (27 points) combined for 39 points for the Pistons in their 101-99 win over the Nuggets, virtually negating Melo's monster night.

Good News: The Nuggets sank a season high 16 three-pointers last night and breezed to victory over the Warriors last night. Everytime the Warriors made a run ... the Nuggets responded. Ty Lawson, who suffered a sprained left thumb earlier in the week, looked great and sank 2-3 of his shots from distance (should have been 3-4 if Billups had gotten him the ball a half-second earlier before the half).

Bad News: The Pistons are healthy and this time around they will have Will Bynum (10.7 ppg), Prince (10.8 ppg), Gordon (15.1 ppg) and Hamilton (18.8 ppg) back in the lineup, after all four missed the previous game against the Nuggets.

Good News: The Pistons road record is an atrocious 7-20 this season as they come to the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets have one of the best home-court advantages in the league and are currently 24-5 in Denver.

Bad News: The Nuggets will be completing the second game of a back-to-back tonight where the Nuggets have a 6-8 record this season. Denver is also coming home after the dreaded late night California game against the Warriors and will have to find their legs tonight. The Nuggets could also once again be without Kenyon Martin tonight against the Pistons.

Good News: The Nuggets have one of the most defined rotations in the league. Denver throws 8 guys at you and they all know exactly what their job is when they are on the floor. Even with an injury (like perhaps the one to Kenyon Martin tonight) the Nuggets have a specific sub off the bench and they too know their role when filling in for Starter X, Y or Z.

Bad News: This healthy Pistons team is a hard team to scout right now. They have been throwing 10 and 11 man rotations at their opponent and different guys have been having good nights for Detroit. Lots of bodies will be thrown at the Nuggets and they will have to adjust to the game on the fly.

Good News: Through 10-games in February the Nuggets have out-rebounded their opponents just five times. In the four-games since the All-Star break however, the Nuggets have out-rebounded their opponent three-times (vs. the Cavs, Celtics and Warriors) and hold a 3-1 record when they have the edge on the boards ... the lone loss coming to the Wizards, who out-rebounded the Nuggets.

Bad News: In the Nuggets loss to the Pistons earlier this season, they were out-rebounded 37-43 and Denver gave up a 15 offensive boards to the Pistons, 10 combined to Ben Wallace (6) and Jonas Jerebko (4). No wonder the Nuggets checked on Wallace's availability before the trade deadline.

Good News: When the Nuggets play unselfish, team basketball they are the most exciting team to watch in the NBA. Against the Celtics, the Nuggets notched 24 assists and last night against Golden State they recorded 29 assists and won both games going away.

Bad News: Denver ranks just 16th in the NBA in total team assists (just over 21 per game) and can turn in some very selfish performances ... like the 12 total assists against the Wizards on Feb. 19th or the 14 total assists against the Pistons on Dec. 10th, both game were losses.

Good News: The Nuggets have dropped three-straight games to the Pistons, with Billups, by just 10 combined points. (January 9, 2009: 90-93; March 3, 2009: 95-100 and December 10, 2009: 99-101)

Bad News: The Nuggets have dropped three-straight games to the Pistons, with Billups, by a combined 10 points.

Views you can use:

As far as I can tell ... there is a bit of a popularity contest going on in Twitterland between Nuggets players. Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson, Renaldo Balkman and J.R. Smith are often trying to get new followers and they each come up with different ways to attract fellow Tweeters (mainly asking for help from their friends and coming up with goals for certain time frames). With that, let's take a look at the Nuggets and a couple members of the Nuggets' "extended family" on Twitter based on their followers ...

Rank Player/Media Member Twitter Name Number of Followers
1 Johan Petro Frenchi27 317,645
2 Carmelo Anthony carmeloanthony 81,936
3 Ty Lawson TyLawson3 17,212
4 J.R. Smith JR_Swish 15,069
5 Arron Afflalo AAA_afflalo 3,543
6 Chris Andersen Birdmancamp 2,134
7 Renaldo Balkman kOoLwiTaK 585
8 Scott Hastings ScottHastings 546
9 Jason Kosmicki nuggetsradio 465

I'm still not sure how Petro has so many followers, maybe all of France follows him? The most active guys are definitely Swish, Lawson, Afflalo, Petro and Balkman. Melo chimes in from time-to-time and I'm not quite sure if that's Birdman's official account or not (it isn't verified).

Again, I like Twitter for it's ability to give you some great information from news/sports sources and it gives you another way to follow your favorite team. J.R. Smith posted a picture of Afflalo's high-water pants, Balkman posted a picture of a steak he was about to devour and the guys let you know when they are heading to the gym (early and often) and other random thoughts.

Update: Just wanted to add ... J.R. Smith's new red star tattoos on his neck, AWFUL!

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

Photo courtesy of Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images