It’s rare to see two teams over .500 who are both desperate for a win, but tonight’s matchup of the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons features just that. Denver plays tomorrow night against the Boston Celtics in the final game of a 6-game road trip, so if they want to do better than a 1-5 record they likely need this win. Detroit, meanwhile, has lost 6 in a row after a hot start to the season and are desperate to reverse their momentum hosting an injured Nuggets team.
Who: Denver Nuggets (14-12) vs. Detroit Pistons (14-12)
When: 5:00 pm MST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit MI
How to watch: Altitude
Rival blog: Detroit Bad Boys
Injury Report: Nikola Jokic - doubtful (ankle); Paul Millsap - out (wrist)
Even if the Nuggets win, expect it to stay competitive
Detroit has kept most of its recent losses close and have only blown out a couple of teams on the season even in their wins. The Nuggets struggle to play defense most of the game, but their collapse against the Indiana Pacers was expecially agonizing. Since Denver can’t put anyone away and Detroit can’t get crucial buckets down the stretch, this game may turn on who fails less in the final minutes.
Denver has to start well
Getting a good game from the starters is crucial, because while Detroit might keep it close, the Nuggets have a habit of getting blown out in its losses this year. They somehow even get blown out in overtime. Denver is going to need a well-balanced game from its whole rotation to give them the chance to redeem themselves from the Indiana ending.
Someone is going to have to slow Andre Drummond and Detroit’s pick and roll
Drummond is leading the league in rebounding again with over 15 boards per game, Reggie Jackson and Avery Bradley are combining for almost 32 points a game, and Tobias Harris has been the player Detroit thought he was when they added him and paid him. Once again Denver’s fate rests on their ability to stop guard penetration, the opponent’s inside presence, and to limit hot shooters. Fingers crossed.
Prediction: We’ll see whether that Indiana game was deflating or inspiring, but Detroit is at home and should be willing to bleed for a win. With Denver’s road record it’s hard to pick against the home team. 106-101, Detroit.