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Preview: Nuggets buckle in for game against Pistons

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The rolling Denver Nuggets look to keep their win streak alive against the lackluster Detroit Pistons.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The team had a nice win on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves, improving to 7-1 in the division, and picking up their 37th win of the season.

Monte Morris and Malik Beasley have stepped up in a huge way for the Nuggets, filling in for the starting backcourt of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. Beasley has scored 79 points in the last three games, while going 13 for 22 from behind the 3-point line. Morris has scored 55 points in his last three games, while being his usual efficient self with 25 assists to two turnovers.

Expect to see a lot more points tonight than we did last night in the Super Bowl - at least in the NBA, both teams can score.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (37-15) vs Detroit Pistons (22-29)

When: 5:00 PM MDT

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan

How to watch: Altitude, NBA League Pass, Reddit

How to Listen: Altitude Radio 92.5 FM

Rival Blog: Detroit Bad Boys

Lineups

Nuggets vs Pistons

POS DEN DET EDGE
POS DEN DET EDGE
PG Monte Morris Reggie Jackson Nuggets
SG Malik Beasley Bruce Brown Nuggets
SF Will Barton Reggie Bullock Nuggets
PF Paul Millsap Blake Griffin Pistons
C Nikola Jokic Andre Drummond Nuggets
BENCH Brandon Goodwin, Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Mason Plumlee, Trey Lyles Ish Smith, Langston Galloway, Luke Kennard, Stanley Johnson, Zaza Pachulia Even

Injuries: Nuggets - Gary Harris (questionable - various ailments), Jamal Murray (questionable - ankle), Isaiah Thomas (out - hip), Michael Porter Jr. (out - back); Pistons - none.

Three things to watch

Monte getting the start in front of friends and family. Monte Morris is a Flint, Michigan native, and cares a great deal about his hometown. He’s done charity work, helped organize water drives, and is a sterling ambassador for his community. If Jamal Murray is out while recovering from an ankle injury (and to be honest, he should rest until the All-Star break) Morris will get the opportunity to hear his name announced in the starting lineup in his home state. It’ll be a special opportunity for a special player, a great opportunity for the young player.

Power forward ain’t dead. In an era of the league where small-ball is more and more prevalent, there is a great opportunity for power forwards to redefine the position. Millsap has helped elevate the Nuggets defense, and has the ability to score at all three levels. Blake Griffin is one of the best players in the league, and is having a MVP-caliber season while filling the role of primary ballhandler for his team. This will be the biggest matchup of the game for the Nuggets — if Millsap is able to help corral Griffin and keep him in check, that’ll make things easier for the Nuggets.

Rebounding. While the Pistons have a good rebounder in Griffin, he’s not as much of a factor on the offensive glass as Andre Drummond. Drummond averages 5.2 offensive boards PER GAME, using his size, quickness, and soft hands to dominate in that area of the game. The Pistons are going to miss a ton of shots, and if Denver can limit those second chance opportunities, they could limit the Pistons to under 100 points. The Nuggets are 18-1 when they hold opponents under the century mark — let’s see them do it again tonight.

Predictions

Nuggets 115 - Pistons 97