The Denver Nuggets (12-8) are preparing for a matchup with the Detroit Pistons (5-15) as the two teams are in the early stages of two seasons heading in opposite directions. The two sides are heading in opposite directions right now as the Pistons have lost seven of their last 10 while the Nuggets have won seven of their last 10. 

For Denver, they can’t let up. They’re coming off of a big win over the Utah Jazz that saw Nikola Jokic put up 47 points and his 20th straight double-double to open the season. That win snapped an 11-game winning streak for the Jazz who were at the top of the conference prior to that loss. Denver will need to keep that momentum rolling moving forward. 

For Detroit, the rebuild is in effect. If it weren’t for surprising wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers over the last week they would be tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference. While the goal is always to win every night, the team needs to focus on developing their young pieces. 

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (12-8, 5-5 home) vs Detroit Pistons (5-15, 1-8 away)

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up on Zoom. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Detroit Bad Boys

Expected Starting Lineups:

DET: PG Delon Wright, PG Wayne Ellington, SF Jerami Grant, PF Blake Griffin, C Mason Plumlee

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Will Barton, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Paul Millsap, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: P.J. Dozier, Gary Harris, Greg Whittington, Killian Hayes

Three Things to Watch

Jerami Grant revenge game

Last season, Jerami Grant experienced his breakout with the Denver Nuggets. After starting the year on the bench, he was inserted into the starting lineup during the playoffs to guard guys like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. During the offseason, Grant left as a free agent to pursue a bigger role, and he’s found just that in Detroit. He’s averaging career-highs in points, assists, rebounds, shots per game and usage rate. Is he going to show out against his old team?

How do injuries affect the rotation?

Gary Harris (adductor) and P.J. Dozier (hamstring) are both dealing with injuries that will likely force them to miss the game. Seeing the starting lineup will be important to see, and it also will be interesting to see who Michael Malone brings up from the end of the bench to fill their spots. 

Nikola Jokic Maintaining the Streak

Jokic has gotten his streak to 20 games of double-doubles, and it is a legitimate possibility that he won’t maintain it in this game for a few reasons. For one, the Pistons could struggle which could result in him being pulled early. Secondly, four of the five Pistons’ starters combine to average over 24 rebounds per game. This is a game that could put the streak in jeopardy.