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Pistons vs. Nuggets Preview: Detroit playing for pride as West Coast swing continues

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NBA: Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The first stop of Detroit’s six-game west coast road trip did not go as planned, as the Pistons were publicly embarrassed by the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night. The Donovan Mitchell-lead Jazz dismantled Detroit by 31 points (not a typo). Mitchell added insult to injury, hitting a shot from the logo, that will haunt your dreams for years to come. Warning: you may want to avert your eyes.

The good news for Detroit, they can only go up from here. Right guys? Guys!? They’ll continue this road show in Denver to take on the 37-31 Nuggets. Denver is currently battling for a playoff seed in the loaded Western Conference; Detroit on the other hand, there’s nothing but pride on the line at this point.

Game Vitals

When: Thursday, March 15th, 9:00 P.M. EST
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Watch: FSN Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Detroit +8

Analysis

The Nuggets possess one of the most potent offenses in the entire league. This season they’re boasting a 109 Offensive Rating, which is good for fifth in the NBA. They’re lead by soon to be perennial All-Star, Nikola Jokic, who’s averaging 17.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 6 assists per game. Those six assists per game lead all traditional big men this season, as long as you’re not counting the likes of Ben Simmons and Draymond Green.

Here’s a taste of some of Jokic’s passing abilities.

How Jokic, with his back towards the basket, found Chandler open for three on the other end of the floor, one will never know.

This play is just bananas. That’s all there is to it.

Jokic is a wizard, and his inside-outside, multi dimensional game could spell disaster for Detroit. The Pistons have always struggled against skilled big-men like Marc Gasol, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins. If they fail to contain Jokic early, this game could easily get out of hand fast. Look for Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond to share Jokic duties on Thursday night.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons
Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock, Andre Drummond, James Ennis, Blake Griffin

Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Wilson Chandler

Prediction

Denver 110, Detroit 98