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Detroit vs Denver Preview: Pistons look to snap six-game losing streak against injured Nuggets

The Pistons have to win sometime - why not tonight?

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Detroit Pistons Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons are currently mired in a six-game losing streak, one in which they’ve played tight with conference title contenders from both the East and the West, but to no avail. Their latest loss came against the Boston Celtics, who completely shut down four-fifths of the Pistons’ starting lineup and relegated Tobias Harris to the role of “inefficient chucker” during comeback time.

The Denver Nuggets, on the other hand, are in the midst of a six-game road trip, without their best player (Nikola Jokic), their second-best player (Paul Millsap), and any apparent trust in their young point guards (Mike Malone went with Will Barton, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler, Trey Lyles, and Kenneth Faried down the stretch of the loss at Indiana).

Oh yeah, Denver lost to Indiana, blowing a four-point lead with 90 seconds left to back into overtime, then losing the OT period by 10 points. Victor Oladipo dropped 47 on them in spectacular fashion. Fortunately for the Nuggets...


Game Vitals:

When: Tuesday, December 12th, at 7 p.m. EST

Where: Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, MI

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass


Per NBA Stats (no fancy Cleaning The Glass stats here guys, sorry), Denver is 14-12, with a Net Rating of -0.7 (No. 8 in ORTG at 107.1, No. 25 in DRTG at 107.8). Their lead scorer is Barton with 16.1 points per game, and they are 3-4 in their last seven games. You expect the offense to be even better when Jokic returns - as Denver analysts never tire of saying, the Nuggets had the best offense in the NBA last year after December 15, when they fully turned the offense over to the talented big man.

In this game, though, Barton will likely be the main defensive focus for the Pistons - he’s bumped his averages up to 18/6/5 in the five games Jokic has missed, scoring at all three levels and even taking over point guard duties. He’s no Kyrie Irving, but Avery Bradley will have his hands full tonight.

On Detroit’s side, look for Andre Drummond to take advantage of the matchup against Plumlee v. 2.0 (Mason) - who has neither the skill on offense to stretch Andre out of his comfort zone nor the strength on defense to keep Andre out of the paint as he rolls. Expect a bounce-back game from Drummond after the Celtics dedicated much of their gameplan (and Aron Baynes’ body) to keeping Andre out of the lane. Keep track of Reggie Jackson’s offensive aggression as well - Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay aren’t known for their defensive prowess.

Denver is a poor defensive team, so pay attention to what kind of balance Stan Van Gundy attempts to strike between the more motion-orientated offense the Pistons run most of the time and the pick-and-roll heavy attack they default to when they feel they need a basket. Ben Gulker and I questioned the balance between the two (or lack thereof) against Boston on our usual Sunday podcast - it will be interesting to see if Stan Van Gundy makes any adjustments trying to snap the Pistons out of it. More PNR, more motion offense, more trapping on D (to deter the Nuggets’ young point guards), rotation changes (*cough* BOBAN *cough cough*), a new starting lineup - anything is possible tonight.

Projected Lineup:


Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton, Wilson Chandler, Mason Plumlee


Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond


It’s no longer hell week, and the Pistons will shake off the The Ringer Curse.

Pistons 104, Nuggets 100

Poll Question of the night:


Will someone explain the 104-100 meme to me?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Absolutely not, that’s what you get for not reading the comments
    (17 votes)
  • 27%
    Sure, we’ll let you in on the joke, one Pistons fan to another
    (13 votes)
  • 37%
    (18 votes)
48 votes total Vote Now