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Denver Nuggets searching for consistency in crunch time

After another close road loss, five-game trip continues Tuesday in Detroit


The Nuggets continue to put themselves in position to win on the road. The next step is finishing with more consistency.

After another close loss Sunday in New York, Denver will relish the opportunity to get back on the winning track Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Nuggets (10-11) have led in the fourth quarter of seven of their past eight road games and are 3-4 in those seven games.

Ahead 88-80 early in the fourth quarter against the Knicks, Denver never regained the lead after New York went on a 12-0 scoring run. The Nuggets missed three shots, gave up two offensive rebounds and committed two turnovers in that 3:11 stretch.

It was a microcosm of the game in general. New York scored 22 second-chance points and 22 points off 16 Denver turnovers.

“We are a young team,” Nuggets forward Danilo 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.”

The Nuggets were able to close out the Pistons in their first meeting on Nov. 6. Andre Iguodala scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Denver built a 17-point lead in a 109-97 victory.

The Pistons have played better since their lone Pepsi Center appearance. After losing eight straight games to start the season, Detroit went 7-7 entering Monday night’s game at Philadelphia.

The Nuggets have won five straight games against the Pistons, but winning in Detroit historically hasn’t been easy. They dropped 14 games in a row at the Palace from 1995-96 to 2009-10.

A win in Detroit would even Denver’s record at 2-2 on its current five-game road trip. The Nuggets have played an NBA-high 15 road games. They close the trip Wednesday at Minnesota before returning home Friday against Memphis.

One of Denver’s best players of late has been reserve forward Corey Brewer. In four games last week, Brewer averaged 18.3 points on .559 shooting. Defensively, he added seven steals and six blocked shots.

Brewer and the Nuggets will have to slow Pistons point guard Brandon Knight, who scored a combined 51 points and hit 8-of-9 3-pointers against Cleveland and Chicago last week.

The Nuggets are last in the NBA in 3-pointers allowed and 28th in 3-point defense (.392).

“I tell the team all the time, I don’t mind losing to a good team, but we lose because we give them things,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “We give them gifts. We have to get better about getting beat by teams weaknesses and not giving them their strengths.”


NUGGETS AT PISTONS


WHEN:
5:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: The Palace of Auburn Hills
TV; RADIO: Altitude; 104.3 FM, AM-950

PROBABLE STARTERS
DENVER

F Danilo Gallinari
F Kenneth Faried
C Kosta Koufos
G Andre Iguodala
G Ty Lawson

DETROIT
F Tayshaun Prince
F Jason Maxiell
C Greg Monroe
G Kyle Singler
G Brandon Knight

INJURY REPORT
DENVER:
Wilson Chandler (hip) and Julyan Stone (hip) are out.
DETROIT: None to report.

SERIES NOTES
Despite winning each of the last five contests, the Nuggets have lost seven of the last 12 games overall at the hands of Detroit, not to mention 16 of the last 23 meetings since the 2000-01 season … Before winning at Detroit in 2010-11, Denver had lost 14 consecutive road games to the Pistons (did not play at Detroit in 2011-12 due to lockout) … 2010-11 was the Nugget’s first 2-0 sweep in the season series with Detroit since the 1993-94 season (have swept Detroit four times since joining the NBA in 1976) … The highest scoring game in NBA history involved the Nuggets and Pistons, as Detroit beat Denver 186-184 in triple-overtime at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver on 12/13/83 … Ironically, the fewest points that Denver has ever scored in a game also came against the Pistons, scoring only 53 points at Detroit on 11/16/02 … The most points ever scored by a Nuggets player was 73 points by David Thompson, which he did against the Pistons on 4/9/78 in Detroit.