Denver Nuggets 104, Detroit Pistons 91: Three takeaways

by Alex Labidou Staff Writer

The Nuggets turned to another starting five and didn’t let up, securing a 104-91 win over the Pistons in Detroit.

Denver rolled out a starting lineup of Markus Howard, Austin Rivers, Michael Porter Jr., Vlatko Čančar, and Nikola Jokić against Detroit. Howard and Čančar would combine for 31 points in the victory.

Jokić would record his 16th triple-double of the season with 20 points, 15 boards, and 11 assists to power the Nuggets over the Pistons in the Motor City. Detroit was led by Hamidou Diallo, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds on 44.4 percent shooting.

The Nuggets will now turn their attention to their final game of the regular season as they head to Portland to face the Trail Blazers Sunday (7 p.m. MT, ALTITUDE).

Here are the takeaways:


Jokić didn’t play the fourth quarter. He was dominant enough that there was no need for it.

The short-handed Pistons seemingly had no answers for the Serbian, who recorded his first triple-double since mid-April. He shot 7 of 11 and continued his recent aggressiveness in getting to the line. The center finished with seven free-throw attempts, making six.

Jokić played a substantial role in the Nuggets’ 21-6 run in the third quarter that helped sealed the game for the team. He dropped seven points, six rebounds and two assists during that stretch. Equally as important, he was able to get some rest in the game as he only recorded 27 minutes of action.

Another night, another career-high

Markus Howard got his first NBA start and proceeded to post another personal best in scoring, dropping 20 points and three rebounds in 34 minutes.

For a player who went undrafted during the 2020 NBA Draft and joined the Nuggets as a rookie free agent, the performance is testament to just how hard the guard has worked all season. Howard is 5-foot-10, but it hasn’t limited his scoring punch. Howard did most of his damage from the three in the win against the T’Wolves Thursday, but on Friday, he was effective at scoring inside the arc. The former Marquette star finished shooting 9 of 14.

Another player who impressed in his first NBA start was Čančar. The Slovenian tallied 11 points and four rebounds on 55.6 percent shooting.

Monte back at it

Monte Morris quickly got past the rust from his return on Tuesday and put on a show against his local Pistons. The Flint, MI-native came off the bench and dropped 15 points and three assists while shooting a crisp 60 percent from the field.

Morris was able to play in both halves and was aggressive in getting to the rim, with half of his makes coming inside the paint. This was an encouraging performance, especially heading into the playoffs.


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