Detroit Pistons vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick

Detroit Pistons (41-15) +2, o/u 206 at Denver Nuggets (33-22), 9 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of

The Detroit Pistons continue their chase for the best record in the Eastern Conference when they visit the Denver Nuggets Monday night.

NBA Basketball Sportsbooks list Denver as a point-and-a-half home favorite, with a total of 206.

Detroit had lost a couple of games in a row just after the All-Star break, but has now won its last two after kicking the Suns in Phoenix Sunday 116-86. So heading into this week’s action, the Pistons lead the Central Division by nine games over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers, and trail the East-leading Boston Celtics by just two games.

Denver, meanwhile, has lost two straight games, and in rather ugly style, allowing Chicago to score 135 points Friday, then blowing a 23-point lead and losing at Milwaukee Saturday 115-109. So going into this week’s play, the Nuggets sit in second place in the Northwest Division, 2 games back of the first-place Utah Jazz, and are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Detroit swept two games from Denver last season, both of which were played after the Nuggets had acquired Allen Iverson from Philadelphia. But Denver should have earned a split; the Nuggets had the ball and a three-point lead in the waning moments of the game March 26, but the Pistons’ Rasheed Wallace picked up a lose ball and threw it in the hole from 60 feet away to send the game into OT, where Detroit eventually won 113-109.

Statistically, the Pistons did a job on the Nugs in those two games. Detroit shot 47% from the field and held Denver to 40% in the two games together, and the Pistons limited Iverson to 37% and 18 ppg and Carmelo Anthony to 30% shooting and 15 ppg.

Also, excluding the overtime period, last season’s two meetings between these two teams averaged 187 total points.

This season, Detroit is 32-23 against the spread, 19-10 straight up and 15-13 vs. the numbers on the road. Meanwhile, Denver is 27-27 ATS this season, 22-6 SU and 17-11 vs. the numbers at home.

Statistically speaking, the Pistons rank 1st in the league in scoring defense at 90 ppg, 2nd in point differential at +8.1 per game, 3rd in FG defense at 44% and 9th in rebounding at +1.8 boards per game. Also, Detroit is shooting 46% from the floor, 38% from 3-point range and 76% from the free-throw line.

On the other side of this match-up, the Nuggets rank 4th in the league in scoring at 107 ppg, 12th in point differential at +2.3 per game, 7th in FG defense at 45% and 22nd in rebounding at -1.4 per game. Also, Denver is shooting 46% from the field, 34% from long range and 76% from the line.

On the injury front, Nuggets F Linas Kleiza (12 ppg) missed Saturday’s game with a bad ankle, but is listed as probable for Monday.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks the Pistons 2nd at 97.5, Denver 12th at 91.8. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.2.

The o/u is 26-29 in Detroit games this season, which are averaging 189 total points, while the totals are 30-25 in Nuggets games, which are averaging 212 points.

Zman’s Pick: Denver at -2.