Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons (22-29) will host Nikola Jokic and the red-hot Denver Nuggets (37-15) at the Little Caesars Arena on Monday, February 4 at 7:00 pm. The Nuggets have won their last six and they are coming to Detroit to face the Pistons who are 4-6 in their last ten while Denver is 8-2.
The Nuggets are currently without their starting back court due to injuries to Gary Harris and Jamal Murray. In this period, Malik Beasley has stepped up big time scoring twenty-two vs. the Pelicans, thirty-five vs. the Rockets, and twenty-two vs. the Timberwolves, he led all Nuggets in those three games. Monte Morris is also stepping up in Jamal Murray’s absence. Denver’s last game was against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nuggets won 107-106. Malik Beasley scored the game winner with 1:02 left in the game. Will Barton scored twenty, Trey Lyles added nineteen off the bench, and Jokic continued his MVP-campaign with a 13-16-10 triple double. On the other end of the sideline, the Timberwolves were led by all-star Karl Anthony-Towns’ 31-12 double-double.
The Pistons looked for back to back wins when they hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. With 2:33 left in the third quarter, Ish Smith drained a three pointer to go up nineteen points. According to ESPN’s win probability generator, they had a 98.2% chance of victory. However, Lou Williams’ and the Clippers had other plans and came roaring back outscoring the Pistons 35-14 in the fourth quarter. Lou scored sixteen of the Clippers’ final eighteen points and assisting the other basket. Standout performers were Lou Williams with 39 points, Blake Griffin with a 24-11 double-double, Andre Drummond with a double-double of his own (12-11), and Reggie Jackson scored a Piston-high and a season-high 29 points. Best of all for the Pistons was Reggie Bullock scoring 19 and making all five threes he attempted. Trade rumors have been flying around the sharp-shooting Tarheel all season, but the first actual team was named, the Los Angeles Lakers. If the Pistons can get the Lakers’ first-round pick in return that that would be great for the franchise.
The Nuggets should easily win this game to continue their stellar season. I will predict a 121-104 Nuggets victory Monday. Detroit’s line-up should be the usual one with Jackson, Brown, Bullock, Griffin, Drummond. However, the Nuggets’ line-up will probably be Morris, Beasley, Barton, Millsap, Jokic, due to injuries to Murray and Harris. Watch out for the center matchup between Jokic and Drummond and see why Drummond is no longer a viable option in today’s NBA. Jokic could torch Andre’s poor perimeter defense as big men such as Brook Lopez has.