Jerami Grant is returning to play his former Denver Nuggets team, and while these two organizations are headed in opposite directions in the standings, it is a chance for Grant to prove he made the right choice.
The Nuggets, 12-8, are fourth in the Western Conference and have one of the most dangerous offenses in the NBA. They also have who I would consider the league’s MVP in Nikola Jokic. Denver wanted Grant, its former two-way wing to return to the team and compete for a title. They even offered to match Detroit’s $20 million per year salary. Grant, however, had more on his mind, and here’s hoping he can showcase that tonight.
When: 9 p.m. EST
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +8
The Detroit Pistons have a penchant for performing well against the NBA’s best teams. They seem to catch them at just the right moment on the schedule, often missing some big-time contributors, and playing with energy and effort that allows them to outlast their more talented opponent. That recent history could repeat itself in Denver tonight.
Narratively, we’re all rooting for a huge game from Jerami Grant, obviously, in his return against the Nuggets. Being an explosive No. 1 option against his former team, where he served a more complementary role, and winning the game could help solidify Grant’s All-Star case going forward. It’d also be fun to beat a team like the Nuggets. It should be noted as well that Denver is going to be on the second half of a back-to-back after a huge win against the Utah Jazz on Sunday night and with a big matchup next against the Lakers.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Nuggets are looking past the Pistons and not quite ready for the battle they’re going to get themselves into. Denver lost Gary Harris after nine minutes with a strained abductor and star guard Jamal Murray is playing through a sprained left shoulder, bruised elbow and bruised glute.
Of course, it’s equally likely the Pistons get run out of the gym just as they did Saturday against the Golden State Warriors. It was their first absolute no-show of the season with Detroit falling behind 19 points at halftime with the game sewn up within minutes of the third quarter.
It’s also a game where the absolutely scorching Wayne Ellington scored zero points and missed all five of his 3-point attempts. If you want a sign of just how susceptible this offense is when missing its lone 3-point threat there you go. Should add fuel to the fire of the pro-tanking crowd anxious to trade Ellington as quickly as possible.
Detroit Pistons (5-15)
Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee
Denver Nuggets (12-8)
Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr., Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Question of the Game
Who is the league’s first-half MVP?