After 14 consecutive seasons, the Denver Nuggets losing streak in the Motor City has officially come to an end Wednesday night.
That was before Chauncey Billups even started college. right before the Nuggets drafted Antonio McDyess and it was Dikembe Mutombo’s final season as a Denver Nugget. But the drought is officially done, and it was ended by three players who really should be Detroit Pistons – Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo and Carmelo Anthony.
Joe Dumars and the Pistons were kind enough to deal Billups (in 2008) and Afflalo (2009) to the Nuggets and they saved the Nuggets franchise by passing on Anthony in favor of Darko Milicic. But to their credit the Pistons won an NBA Title with Milicic.
On Wednesday, the Nuggets struggled shooting the ball all night, Anthony was 5-of-16, Al Harrington 4-13 and Ty Lawson 1-4. In fact after the first quarter, Shelden Williams was the leading scorer for the Nuggets, yes the same Williams who has had the unfavorable DNP-CD in four of five games before tonight.
But despite their struggles shooting the ball, the Nuggets actually didn’t go back to their one-on-one style of play as they have in the past. In fact, Anthony handed out seven assists (to go along with 10 rebounds) to lead the team.
Two of Anthony’s assists led to a pair of Billups’ four treys in the final quarter and put a dagger in the Pistons comeback attempt, as they got within one point with three minutes left in the game.
With the victory and the Utah Jazz falling to the San Antonio Spurs the Nuggets moved into second place in the Northwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference (two and 1/2 games behind the Dallas Mavericks and two games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder).
- JR Smith returned to action for the Nuggets after sitting out the previous game because he was late to shootaround. Smith chipped in eight points, but probably should have spent more time at shootaround after missing a pair of free throws and also a three-pointer.
- Kenyon Martin sat out the game like usual since it was the second of a back-to-back, Nene also missed the game because of a strained right calf.
- Anthony was three assists away from a triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists).
- Despite putting a dagger in the Pistons hopes, Billups was cheered throughout the game.
- All five starters scored in double-figures, but none of the bench scored more than nine points
- Afflalo and Billups combined for 9-13 from behind the arc, rest of the team only shot 2-14.
Nuggets will hope to make it 3-0 when they head to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers who are on a 18-game losing streak.