DENVER -- Stan Van Gundy said he thinks the argument that playing at altitude gives the Denver Nuggets a bit advantage is a myth. His team backed up its coach's claim with an impressive victory. Tobias Harris scored 19 points and Andre Drummond had 14 and 12 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons beat the Nuggets 106-95 for their first win in Denver in seven years. It was Detroit's first road win after starting 0-5 away from home. It also ended their trip on a positive note. "It was big," the Pistons' Jon Leuer said. "We hadn't had a road win yet and capping this trip off with a win is great." Marcus Morris scored 17 points and Leuer had 14 and 10 rebounds for Detroit. Six players, including all five starters, scored in double figures for the Pistons, who snapped a seven-game losing streak in Denver and conquered the mile-high air for the first time since last sweeping the season series in 2008-09. "I went to college, I took exercise physiology," Van Gundy said. "I know what happens to the body at 5,280 feet. I've personally played at a lot higher altitudes than that. They play it up and there's nothing to it. Asks the scientists. It's all what you put in your mind." Emmanuel Mudiay led Denver with 19 points and Danilo Gallinari had 18. The Nuggets have lost four of their last five and fell to 0-3 at home. Mudiay was 4 for 8 from 3-point range but had five of Denver's 16 turnovers. "I love the fact that he's making shots but his job as a point guard is to valuable the ball, and right now it's not the case," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "He's not the only one." Malone shook up his starting lineup, inserting Kenneth Faried at power forward and bringing Nikola Jokic off the bench to improve Denver's starts. It didn't help. Detroit led all game and never trailed in the two contests against the Nuggets. The game was similar to the Pistons' 103-86 win in Auburn Hills, Mich., a week ago. Detroit jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and kept the Nuggets at bay. Denver had eight turnovers in the first period, which led to some easy buckets for Detroit. The Pistons, who came in shooting 39.6 percent in road games, hit 64 percent of their shots en route to taking a 36-21 lead into the second quarter. They shot 51.1 percent and forced Denver to play catch up all night. "We can't do that no more," Mudiay said. "I'm tired of it. We all should be tired of it. We've just got to be ready to come out and play." Detroit led 44-29 before the Nuggets reeled off 11 straight points to get back into it. Several times the margin shrunk to four in the second half but Detroit always found a way to extend it. It continued late into the game when Denver chipped away at a nine-point deficit. Jamal Murray hit a floating jumper and Gallinari drained a long 3-pointer to make it 93-89. Drummond answered buckets by Gallinari and Faried with a dunk and a hook to make it 99-93. After Mudiay split a pair of free throws, Ish Smith hit a jumper with 2:02 left and Gallinari hit a free throw at the other end to make it 101-95 with 1:29 to play. Harris hit a jumper over Mudiay to put Detroit ahead by eight with 1:07 left and the Pistons held on. "They had a lot of things going their way. They got right back in it but we were able to grind it out," Van Gundy said. "We got timely baskets when we needed them. Still a lot of things we need to do better but that's a really good win for us." NOTES: The Nuggets were again without G Will Barton (sprained left ankle) and F Darrell Arthur (knee). Denver coach Michael Malone said Barton, who sprained his ankle in Toronto on Nov. 1, is improving but is probably a couple of weeks away from coming back. ... Detroit made only one 3-pointer in the loss in San Antonio on Friday night, and it was by C Andre Drummond. It was Drummond's fourth career 3-pointer. ... The Nuggets are still awaiting word from the league office about the protest they filed for the blown call at the end of the loss to Memphis on Tuesday. Officials mistakenly awarded possession to the Grizzlies with 0.7 seconds left, and they won it on a buzzer-beater. ... Pistons G Reggie Jackson, who is out with a knee injury, played high school basketball in Colorado Springs.
Harris, Drummond power Pistons past Nuggets
The Sports Xchange | Nov 13