Nuggets-Pistons Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 11, 2012
The Denver Nuggets' road-heavy schedule has seemed to catch up with them as they continue to find different ways to squander leads. That's not very encouraging for a team that hasn't had much success in Auburn Hills. Denver hopes to avoid a sixth loss in seven road contests Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, who have dropped five of their last seven overall. The Nuggets (10-11) are in the midst of a five-game road trip, part of a stretch in which they'll play eight of nine away from home. They've played consecutive games in Denver only once this season and won't do so again until a three-game homestand Jan. 1-5. Denver, which concludes its current trip at Minnesota on Wednesday, fell 112-106 at New York on Sunday despite leading by eight points one minute into the fourth quarter. It has dropped five of its last six road games, blowing leads of at least eight points three times. The Nuggets committed 16 turnovers Friday and are averaging 16.9 giveaways on the road - 28th in the NBA. "I tell the team all the time. I say, 'I don't mind losing to a good team, but we lose because we give them things,''' coach George Karl said. "We give them gifts.'' Ty Lawson scored 23 points while Danilo Gallinari added 21 and nine rebounds Sunday. Andre Iguodala had 15 points but also finished with five turnovers. "We are a young team," Gallinari said. "We have to practice end-of-game situations more. It is the beginning of the season so we will get better at that." Denver didn't have much trouble holding a lead in its first meeting with the Pistons, as Iguodala finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 109-97 home win Nov. 6 for its fifth straight victory in the series. The Nuggets won the last road matchup 109-100 on Jan. 26, 2011, ending a dismal 14-game losing streak at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit will look to bounce back against Denver while also snapping out of its latest funk after falling 104-97 at Philadelphia on Monday. Greg Monroe, who had 27 points and 10 boards versus the Nuggets last month, and Brandon Knight scored 22 points each for the Pistons (7-16), who shot only 39.5 percent. "We had enough offense," coach Lawrence Frank said. "Unfortunately, we missed some timely baskets. Defensively, we've just got to be a little bit sharper." Rodney Stuckey had 19 points but missed 9 of 14 from the field and Detroit was outscored by 10 in the second half. "This is a no-excuse league," Frank said. "We put ourselves in that position and you've got to grind you way out of it. To our guys' credit, we kept on fighting and gave ourselves a chance. But the objective is to try to win that game and we came up short." Knight had nine assists in the first meeting with Denver, but he went 1 for 6 from the field and committed four turnovers. He's been much better than that lately, averaging 24.3 points while hitting 10 of 15 attempts from 3-point range over his last three games.
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