Oct 29, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) with the ball against Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the Denver Nuggets got the job done. After a disappointing, injury-prone 2013-14′ season, Denver bounced back in a huge way Wednesday night, earning an 89-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
A key player returned to the court for the first time since 2012. his name would happen to be Danilo Gallinari. Gallo showed signs of rust, scoring 7 points on 1-of-8 shooting in just 18 minutes of play. Head coach Brian Shaw noted before the game that the injury-plagued players from last season would have restricted minutes.
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Pistons forward Josh Smith torched the Nuggets early on, knocking down elbow jump-shots as Kenneth Faried failed to get over to contest. Smith was a little trigger-happy if you will Wednesday night, scoring 25 points on 9-of-22 shooting, collecting 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
Although he dealt with foul trouble for most of the game, Kenneth Faried came up huge for the Nuggets. Faried scored 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, collecting 17 rebounds (10 defensive, 7 offensive). Faried was also impressive at the line, knocking down 6-of-8. Rookie center Jusuf Nurkic also provided a spark off the bench, bullying the Pistons in the paint in his first career NBA game. Nurkic hauled down seven rebounds in 13 minutes, tallying five points.
Alonzo Gee was a free-agent signing this offseason, looking to upgrade Denver’s perimeter defense. Not only did he do that against Pistons PG D.J. Augustin, he came in and hit a big three-pointer – his only points of the night. Gee played 12 minutes, recording a steal which led to a 2-on-1 opportunity.
Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov recorded a double-double in the winning effort, shooting 5-of-11 from the field with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. In his first game back with the Denver Nuggets, Arron Afflalo was huge. Afflalo was on-fire towards the end of the third quarter as the guard finished with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
The Denver Nuggets (1-0) return to action Saturday night as they take on the division rival Oklahoma City Thunder. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST, 6:00 PM MST.