Martin, Nuggets Hand Pistons 10th Loss
Denver 98, Detroit 87
DENVER, March 1 (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets gave a glimpse of how dangerous they can be when Kenyon Martin is healthy.
Martin had 28 points and 12 rebounds and Carmelo Anthony added 25 points as the Nuggets posted an impressive 98-87 victory over the league-leading Detroit Pistons, who became the last team in the NBA with 10 losses.
However, Martin looked 100 percent Wednesday as the Nuggets avenged a 25-point setback in Detroit on November 23.
"We really didn't have a choice but to come out and play the way we did," Martin said. "If you don't come out and play this team, they'll beat you. The guys were up for the challenge. This game showed that we can play with anybody in this league."
Martin scored six points in the third quarter, when Denver turned a one-point deficit into an 82-72 lead. The Pistons cut the deficit to 88-82 on Rasheed Wallace's jumper with 5:38 remaining before Martin hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on the other end to ignite a 10-2 spurt.
Richard Hamilton answered with a jumper, but Martin made another shot from the arc with 3:15 to go and Anthony converted consecutive dunks to push the lead to 98-84 one minute later.
"They were the more aggressive team tonight," said Pistons All-Star Ben Wallace, who had eight points and 14 rebounds. "Playing against anybody, if they get easy breaks, it seems to make the basket big for them. It was one of those nights."
Martin entered the game just 1-of-12 from the arc this season. "I got the opportunity to shoot a couple and I was just fortunate they went in," Martin said.
Marcus Camby had 12 points and 20 rebounds for Denver, which held a 59-35 advantage on the boards and a 60-24 edge in points in the paint.
"Our big guys were special tonight," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Kenyon was special offensively. I thought it was a classy win. Hopefully it will snowball the energy and confidence into a good direction."
"They pounded us on the glass," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "Give them credit. They made shots and played with more energy. We were a little bit tired."
Chauncey Billups scored 19 of his 27 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left that gave the Pistons a 56-55 lead.
After shooting 55 percent (22-of-40) in the opening 24 minutes, Detroit shot just 25 percent (11-of-44) thereafter en route to its first loss in seven games.
"They came out with a lot of energy," said Billups, a Denver native. "We just couldn't match energy, couldn't stop them, and they did a good job outrebounding us."