Photo: Leon Halip – USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Nuggets are in dire need of a victory to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race as they welcome the Detroit Pistons to the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets had a golden opportunity on Tuesday night when they had a chance to quiet the entire city of Los Angeles with a victory over the Lakers. Denver wasn’t quite up for the challenge though and the Lakers were able to deliver a huge blow to the Nuggets playoff chances. According to fivethirtyeight.com, the Nuggets now have just a 33 percent chance to make the postseason and are projected to finish 44-38. Including Thursday nights game, the Nuggets have just 14 games remaining on the season, with just three of those games vs. teams with records under .500.
With a record of 37-31, the Nuggets sit at tenth place in the West and are behind the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz for a spot in the top eight. The Nuggets sit a game back of both the Spurs and Jazz and are set to embark on a seven game road trip starting in Memphis on Saturday. The road trip lasts two weeks and will be the most important stretch of games the Nuggets play this season.
The Pistons come into Pepsi Center with a record of 30-37 and currently sit at ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Detroit has struggled as of late and are just 3-11 in their last 14 games and are now sitting on a two percent chance of making the postseason.
Even with the recent struggles, the Pistons still have two star players in Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Drummond currently leads the NBA in rebounding at 15.7 per game, while also chipping in 14.9 points per game. Drummond is also a fantastic defender and leads the Pistons in steals (1.6) and blocks (1.6) per game. Griffin leads the team in scoring at 19.8 points per game, while also contributing over five rebounds and five assists per game. Even with Griffin’s success at scoring basketball, the Pistons as a team have struggled ever since he was acquired in a trade from the Clippers last month.
Since the Blake Griffin trade, the Clippers are 12-4
The Pistons are 8-11.
The Clippers unloaded $141 million in salary and are getting the Pistons' 2018 first-round pick, which looks like it will be a top 10 in a loaded draft
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 14, 2018
The Nuggets are desperate for a victory before they head out on the road and will certainly need strong games offensively from “The Core.” Garry Harris still leads the Nuggets in scoring at 17.8 points per game and is shooting over 40 percent from behind the three-point line. Nikola Jokic leads the Nuggets in the other two major categories averaging 10.4 rebounds and six assists per game. Jokic is in store for a tough matchup vs. Drummond and will need to play well on the boards to prevent second chance points and fast break opportunities for the Pistons. If the Nuggets are able to win the rebounding battle, they should have a good chance to come away with a victory on Thursday night.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver and find out if the Nuggets were able to right the ship against the Pistons.