Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/23

Game 1: Wednesday, November 23rd
Game 2: Wednesday, March 1st

Pistons 87

(47-10, 21-8 away)

Nuggets 98

(31-27, 19-12 home)

Coverage: WDWB

7:00 PM ET, March 1, 2006

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

1 2 3 4 T
DET 30 26 16 1587
DEN 24 31 27 1698

Top Performers

Det: C. Billups 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

Den: K. Martin 28 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast

Nuggets match Pistons physical play to capture win

DENVER (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons were trying to figure out what went wrong in a rare road loss.

Kenyon Martin had 28 points and 12 rebounds and Carmelo Anthony added 25 points to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Pistons 98-87 on Wednesday night.

"I was trying to provide a lift for us and give us some energy, but it wouldn't come," said Denver native Chauncey Billups, who led the Pistons with 27 points. "There were a couple of gimmes that we missed. I made the tough ones and missed the easy ones."

Richard Hamilton added 19 points for Detroit, which had its six-game winning streak snapped. The NBA's best road team lost for only the eighth time in 29 games away from home.

There were stretches when Billups and his teammates couldn't finish uncontested layups let alone wide open 3-pointers.

"We have been playing a lot of games home-road-home-road, so I think we were a little tired tonight," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We'll have to give some guys a rest down the stretch."

Martin had his own take on the what transpired. He pointed to Denver's 110-89 loss to Milwaukee last Monday as the jumping off point.

"We were embarrassed and came out playing lackadaisical," said Martin, who made a couple of 3-pointers. "We all knew we could do that against that team."

And then there was the 59-35 rebounding disparity from a team that had been outrebounded in 13 of its previous 14 games. Marcus Camby grabbed 20 rebounds alone to go along with 12 points for the Nuggets.

"Detroit wins by being physically defensive," Denver coach George Karl said. "We matched that physical play and went hard to the glass."

The game turned when the Nuggets dug in defensively to start the second half. Detroit managed only 6-for-24 shooting and went nearly five minutes before getting a field goal, a 3-pointer from Billups that brought them within 63-60.

Anthony and Camby took over the rest of the quarter, scoring five points and four points respectively to give the Nuggets an 82-72 lead going into the fourth quarter, only the 10th time the Pistons trailed heading into the final period.

Martin had two jumpers early in the fourth to put Denver up 88-77, but the Pistons got it back to 88-82 on a 3-pointer from Lindsey Hunter and Rasheed Wallace's jumper with 5:36 left.

Martin came back with a 3-pointer and Anthony had two dunks to make sure the Pistons never got any closer the rest of the way.

"You saw us playing the way we have to play down the stretch," Anthony said. "The way we must play the rest of the way."

Billups had 19 points by halftime, but it took a 3-pointer in the last minute to put the Pistons ahead 56-55 at the break.

Anthony had 14 and helped Denver stay close after falling behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter.

"We had control," Saunders said. "We lost that control and couldn't gain it back in the second half."

Game notes

: During the pregame introductions, Billups received a three-minute standing ovation. Billups still maintains an offseason home in Denver. ... Detroit signed free agent G Tony Delk. ... Double technicals were issued to Hamilton and Ruben Patterson after the two exchanged words with 6:37 left in the first quarter. ... Denver waived G Charles Smith.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 87 98
FGM-FGA 33-84 (.393) 42-95 (.442)
3PM-3PA 10-24 (.417) 4-14 (.286)
FTM-FTA 11-16 (.688) 10-15 (.667)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-35 22-59
Assists 28 26
Turnovers 8 10
Steals 5 3
Blocks 5 7
Fast Break Points 6 26
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (1/0) 16 (1/0)
Largest Lead 9 14

Top Performers

Chauncey Billups Billups
Points: 27
Reb: 6
Ast: 8
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Kenyon Martin Martin
Points: 28
Reb: 12
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 0