7:30 pm ET
Denver: 39-21 (17-14 road)
Margin: +2.5 ppg (-2.0 last 25%)
Pistons: 29-29 (14-15 home)
Margin: -0.8 (-3.2 last 25%)
Last 10: 2-8
Denver is in a bit of a rut of late. Over the last 25% of games played, they are posting a negative scoring margin. Chauncey has gotten into one of his patented slumps. And the losses are piling up a bit.
As an added bonus, Carmelo Anthony has been suspended for an in-game infraction. I'm always amused by the "cut your nose off to spite your face" quality to team suspensions.
As usual, George Karl has been erratic in his use of JR Smith who, when his game is clicking, is one of Denver's best players. His minutes are being reduced at precisely the point in the season when he usually explodes. Nene has been nominally effective since returning from a two game hiatus due to injury, but remains the teams most effective defender.
Denver's two leading scorers from last year will be sitting this one out. Also, Chauncey Billups.
Keys for Detroit:
Slow down Billups: It isn't rocket science. Without Carmelo Anthony, Denver will have to play at a more methodical pace than ever, giving the Pistons a great chance to get Chauncey out of his game.
Take it to Nene: He had five fouls in 34 minutes on Sunday, and Denver is already short-handed. If he is a victim of the two-foul boogeyman, that's one less challenge the Pistons will face on the defensive end.
Question of the game:
Can we make it three in a row? That's enough of a question for me. Let's do this.