Denver Nuggets rout slumping Detroit Pistons, 103-84
By DAVE HOGG
DETROIT — The Denver Nuggets decided before Tuesday’s game in Detroit that the safest approach was to give Nikola Jokic at least one more night off before bringing him back from injury.
It turned out to be a wise decision.
Without Jokic and Paul Millsap, the Nuggets still routed the Pistons 103-84 behind 28 points from Jamal Murray.
“Jamal was great, but this was the whole team,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Holding that team to 84 points is a remarkable effort, and we were unselfish on offense. Will Barton had 10 assists and Gary Harris had nine, and they only combined for two turnovers.”
Murray finished the game with 11 field goals, one more than Detroit’s starting lineup combined.
“That was extremely bad basketball,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “That’s one of the worst losses I’ve ever had as a coach, and I’ve coached 850-some games between the regular season and the playoffs.”
Van Gundy had juggled Detroit’s lineup after his starters shot 26 percent (13-for-50) in Sunday’s loss to the Boston Celtics. It didn’t help.
Reggie Bullock, inserted for Stanley Johnson, went 3-for-5 from the floor, but the other four starters — Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond, Avery Bradley and Reggie Jackson — shot 22.6 percent (7-for-31) and turned the ball over 15 times.
“Those four are our best four players, so we can’t bench them and expect to win games with the other nine guys,” Van Gundy said. “Those four have got to stop putting us in holes, and it is my job to figure out how to make that happen.”
Trey Lyles added 20 points for Denver. Wilson Chandler scored 18 points, and Mason Plumlee had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Reserves Langston Galloway (18 points) and Boban Marjanovic (14) led the Pistons in scoring. Jackson was the only Detroit starter to reach double figures with 12 points.
Detroit turned the ball over eight times in the game’s first nine minutes, and was down 12 points as a result.