Nuggets host the Pistons in Clash of the Ailing

When the Denver Nuggets had to play without three starters — including two-time MVP Nikola Jokic — for back-to-back games against the Mavericks in Dallas, Friday’s 28-point loss to Dallas wasn’t unexpected, but Denver’s impressive response in Sunday night’s rematch was. unexpected. Frankly surprising.

Not only did the Nuggets play better – they beat the Mavericks 98-97 to get a split.

On Tuesday night, Denver will attempt to replicate that performance when it hosts the slumping Detroit Pistons.

Denver didn’t train Monday and haven’t updated the status of Jokic, Jamaal Murray and Aaron Gordon, who didn’t make the two-game trip to Dallas. Jokic (three matches) and Murray (two matches) are in health and safety protocol, and Gordon has missed three matches with a non-COVID illness.

It was understood that the Mavericks took advantage of Friday night’s absence, but Bones Hyland said he took the loss personally — and Sunday did something about it. He scored 13 of his career-high 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Hyland skipped the optional Saturday shooting day to study the film from Friday.

“I didn’t go,” he told the Denver Post. “I stayed in my room and just watched the movie. I was so mad about the first game and how we lost… We don’t lose like that. With whomever we got, we can beat any team.”

That would help bring back the best player in the world as well as Murray and Gordon. Without them in the lineup, the Nuggets bench stretched thin but overcame the disadvantage to halt a two-game losing streak.

“You don’t even have a margin for error,” said coach Michael Malone.

Denver will face the Pistons after a brutal loss in Sacramento, Detroit’s seventh straight loss. Cade Cunningham has missed six games with soreness in his left leg and could miss more time with what the team fears is a stress fracture.

Detroit has also played the past three games with Isaiah Stewart (big toe), and Friend Bey missed Sunday’s loss with a foot strain.

Even still, the Kings were nearly beaten by the Pistons by surprise. Detroit took a late lead in the fourth quarter before Sacramento went on a run to win 137-129.

“We showed toughness,” said Corey Joseph. “Obviously we didn’t get the job done, which was the main objective, but we showed chaos and toughness. We had opportunities at times to extend or hold on to the lead. We made a lot of mental errors. We played hard though, but at a certain point you can’t hang your hat.” To play hard.”

Since winning Opening Night, Detroit has lost 13 of its 15 games and has the worst record in the NBA.

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