DENVER (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points and the Detroit Pistons snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 110-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.
The win was the Pistons’ first on the road this season as they had lost their previous 10 straight games. Detroit entered the night with a league-worst record of 3-15.
Former University of Colorado standout Alec Burks scored 21 points for the Pistons, seven of which came in the fourth quarter.
“I think we have to win in those situations.” said Pistons manager Dwane Casey. “As much as we want to spend a lot of important time with our young freshmen and sophomores, we need to win to see what you are saying and preaching and what we are building. ”
After missing the past three games under the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol, Denver center Nikola Jokic recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 31 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
As Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said before the game that he “don’t know” the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player will play after he laid out his NBA health, Jokic’s playing condition was uncertain for hours leading up to tipoff. and safety protocols.
“I felt like I hadn’t raced in a while, like I didn’t move my body much because I sat at home for five days and did a little peloton,” said Jokic.
After entering the matchup with a league-high 40.9 percent 3-point shooting percentage, the Nuggets made just five of 19 attempts from beyond the arc.
Leading by two in the fourth quarter, the Pistons extended their advantage to 12, 96-84, which ended 11-1 on Kevin Knox II’s transition dunk.
Denver cut the deficit to 104-102 following Jokic’s hook shot. With the Nuggets down by 3 with 2.2 seconds remaining, Denver guard Jamal Murray was fouled. After Murray took the first free throw and missed the second, teammate Aaron Gordon grabbed the rebound but missed the game-tying jumper.
“We’ve gotten so close,” Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren said. “The Nuggets are who they are. They’ve won the reigning MVP, and they’ve got their men back. It’s huge for us that we come out and win with a grit.”
It was the Nuggets’ first game since Nov. 9, and at least one of the team’s five top scorers – Jokic, Murray, Gordon or Bones Hyland – wasn’t missing. In five games without each of these four players, the Nuggets went 2-3 after an 8-3 start to the season.
Pistons: F Saddiq Bey did not play. Casey said Monday Bey returned to Detroit to be treated for a sprained right ankle. Bey is fifth on the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game.
Nuggets: Malone didn’t think veteran F Jeff Green’s right knee contusion was “too serious”, calling it “more of a bone contusion.” Malone added that Green would be out in the “near future”.
Pistons: Game 5 of a six-game road swing at Utah on Wednesday.
Nuggets: Wednesday in Oklahoma City