After yesterday’s disappointing loss against the Knicks, Denver is looking for a victory against the Detroit Pistons tonight. The Pistons also played last night in New York — they’re coming off a win against the Nets. This game should be interesting as the Pistons look to continue their winning streak, and the Nuggets look to break .500.
First thing’s first — this isn’t a done deal yet. Denver lost in part because the Knicks were playing especially well last night, and Detroit won in part because the Nets were playing especially poorly. After the game, Ty Lawson said “I thought we were playing against the Spurs. They know they pass to one side, kick, kick, and it opens 3s. It was just a tough night for us.” The Pistons, on the other hand, faced what the New York Daily news referred to as “an ugly non-effort from Brooklyn on Friday night, a white-flag parade.” And bear in mind that statistically, Denver is the safer team to bet on. Even after last night’s loss, we’re sitting at .500, and Detroit is only at .409.
So what does Denver need to do to win this game?
First thing’s first — let’s start by getting more guys underneath the hoop. Last night’s game was a real disaster in terms of rebounds. I watched the game at MSG and it was painful to see the number of opportunities the Nuggets missed because they didn’t grab some critical rebounds. The numbers support my frustration — the Nuggets’ bench ranks first in the league in rebounds per game at 17.9, but last night the bench only grabbed 10.
Second, we have to try to force some more turnovers. In the first quarter, after 8 turnovers gave us 14 points, the Nuggets were up 26-20. When we stopped pushing that so hard later in the game, everything started to fall apart.
And third, Denver needs to stay strong all the way through the last quarter. Last night the Pistons also gave up a lot of points in the final minutes. The Nets managed to cut Detroit’s lead to 9 by the end of the game. As long as Denver stays the course through the final quarter, they can exploit this weak spot in Detroit’s game.
Keep your eyes on Kenneth Faried, who gave one of his worst performances last night. Tonight, look for Manimal trying to redeem himself. Last night he recorded a plus/minus rating of -28, a near career-low. And as always, keep an eye out for Ty Lawson, who seems to be breaking career records at every game this season.