Pistons at Nuggets: Monrobocop vs. the Manimal

The Pistons visit the mile high to tangle with the high-powered Nuggets for the first and only time this season. Denver comes into play averaging 103.5 points per game, which ranks tops in the league. But, their season has been somewhat dampened because of injuries. Danilo Gallinari sprained his right ankle on Feb. 6 and came back on March 5. As it seemed like he was finally getting his legs under him, he fractured his thumb on Monday against the Mavericks—which will certainly keep him out for an extended period of time. Andre Miller is also out with a bruised shoulder he hurt Monday night. And Rudy Fernandez has been dealing with a strained back all season—he’s questionable for tonight’s game. But even with those issues, they still sit in the seventh spot in the West.

Game Tips at 9:00 p.m. EST

Detroit Pistons: 16-29 (4-18 road)

Denver Nuggets: 25-21 (14-12 home)

The Situation:

Denver also made a splash at the trade deadline—shipping out Nene for Javale McGee. A lot of that had to do with wanting to get rid of Nene’s contract. It remains to be seen how McGee will fit in—but you have to imagine this is a great situation for him. He’s been the butt of a lot of jokes this season—but with a fresh start and with an excellent coach in George Karl guiding him, I think he’ll flourish there. No one can ever deny his talent. The last time he played the Pistons, he had his way with them.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Nuggets these days without mentioning the dominant play of rookie Kenneth Faried. Simply put—the dude has been a monster. He’s a high-energy guy that outworks everyone. According to Synergy, 62.8 percent of his possessions are a result of offensive rebounds, transition opportunities, and cuts. He is averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds per 36 minutes with a 22.98 PER. His overall numbers of 9 points and 7.2 rebounds don’t necessarily jump out at you (although he does only average 20 minutes per game), but advanced stats tell you he’s impressive. Even though he got a late start, he’s put himself in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. There is a reason why they call him the "Manimal."

Denver is a team that has no superstars and doesn’t rely on one player (sounds like a team we used to know and love, huh? Ohhhhh the good ole’ days.), but of course, their defense isn’t anywhere near as good as that other team’s. But still, I kind of hope they do well just because of the whole no superstar thing.

If this team can ever get fully healthy, and with the recent addition of Wilson Chandler, they can be a tough out in the playoffs.

The Pistons are 1-3 so far on this road trip, but have been very competitive. That’s all we can really ask for, right? Let’s hope for another competitive one tonight.

Keys to the game:

Bottle up Faried: As already mentioned, Faried is pretty good at the game of basketball. Greg Monroe, Big Ben, Jason Maxiell, and Jonas Jerebko will all have their hands full tonight.

Push the tempo: I know what you’re thinking: But that plays into the Nuggets hands! Sure, but as Sean said here, the Pistons are a better team when playing at a faster pace. Also, add the fact that the Nuggets will be shorthanded and the Pistons have had two days of rest…it wouldn't be a bad idea.

Feed the Moose: With Rodney Stuckey questionable, Monroe will have to be featured in the offense even more than usual tonight. Even if Stuckey does play, I’m not really expecting him to perform the way he has over the last 20 games or so. Moose will have his work cut out for him dealing with Faried’s tenacity and McGee’s length, but it will be a good challenge for him.

Question of the game:

Monrobocop or the Manimal, which is a better nickname? I’m pretty sure we all already know the answer anyway.

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