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6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CT1:00 , February 25, 2020
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 19,143

Nuggets set for rematch with rebuilding Pistons

According to STATS
According to STATS

Detroit Pistons at Denver Nuggets

  1. Detroit beat Denver at home in overtime, 128-123, when the teams met on February 2. The Nuggets are 9-1 at home versus the Pistons since 2009-10, their best record over a span of 10 home games in the history of their matchup with Detroit.
  2. The Pistons have lost six straight and are 2-12 since January 24, better than only the Timberwolves (1-11) over this span. Detroit is averaging just 98.5 points during its six-game losing streak, second fewest in the NBA since February 7 (Charlotte, 98.2).
  3. The Nuggets snapped a two-game losing streak with a 128-116 home win over the Timberwolves on Sunday. Prior to these two losses, Denver hadn't lost consecutive games since a three-game losing streak from December 6-10.
  4. Christian Wood is averaging 20.7 points and 10.5 rebounds in six games since the Pistons traded Andre Drummond to the Cavaliers after scoring 10.5 points per game and grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game in his first 49 games this season.
  5. Paul Millsap scored a season-high 25 points in his team's win over Minnesota. Millsap has scored 20-plus points twice in five games since returning from injury after doing so five times in his first 32 games this season.
  6. Denver ranks third in the league in assist/turnover ratio at 1.97 while Detroit (1.55) ranks 23rd. Denver has 37 games with at least 25 assists, third most in the NBA, and has gone 29-8 when reaching that mark.

The Detroit Pistons have just two wins in their last 12 games, a stretch of futility that started a month ago and continued with their sixth straight loss at the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

One of the two wins the Pistons have celebrated was a 128-123 overtime victory over Denver on Feb. 2. Detroit capitalized against a tired, wounded Nuggets team that day, but it won't have that advantage in Tuesday night's rematch in Denver.

The Nuggets have their entire roster available, while the Pistons are shedding players as they head toward another lottery in June. In the past week, Detroit has bought out Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris and signed former University of Michigan star Derrick Walton to a 10-day contract.

The Pistons also traded franchise centerpiece Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers for John Henson, Brandon Knight and a second-round draft pick on Feb. 6. The changes have put Detroit squarely in the rebuilding column with 23 games left.

That doesn't mean the Pistons are going to tank the rest of the season.

"Our No. 1 thing is to maintain a competitive spirit, competitive edge, competitive outlook with our team because it's so easy," first-year coach Dwane Casey said last week. "You get situations where guys are hurt, guys are out, and guys hang their heads and feel sorry for themselves. We're in a situation not only to win games but also to develop a culture and go from there."

Denver isn't going to take Detroit lightly, not after getting a scare from a Minnesota Timberwolves team in a similar situation as the Pistons. The short-handed Timberwolves played the Nuggets tough into the fourth quarter on Sunday before Denver pulled away for a 128-116 victory.

The win snapped a brief two-game losing streak but it also prompted more questions about how coach Michael Malone will utilize his deep roster now that everyone is off the injury report.

Torrey Craig was playing big minutes before the All-Star break and logged just nine Sunday. Rookie Michael Porter Jr., who was playing well before an ankle injury cost him the last six games before the All-Star break, has played 18 total minutes in the last two games.

It's a balancing act Malone is trying to figure out while preparing for what he hopes is an extended postseason appearance.

"That's the big question right now," Malone said Sunday. "Do you try to utilize the quality depth that we have, or do you say, with 26 to go, we're going to really pare this rotation down? My fear with that is, by the time we get to the playoffs, we're going to be on empty.

"And then I don't want to just get to the playoffs this year. We want to make a deep run."

Two players who won't have to worry about playing time are Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. They have led the charge offensively all season but even more so in February. Jokic is averaging 27.3 points and Murray 26.4 in the month.

Veteran Paul Millsap joined in Sunday, scoring a season-high 25 points in his best game since returning from a knee injury that cost him 16 games in January and February.

"I've been out of the lineup for a while, so trying to get back in rhythm and figure things out," Millsap said Sunday.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 24, 2020

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