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Published: Wednesday, 11/7/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Nuggets hold off Pistons 109-97 in home opener

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Andre Iguodala, right, scored six of his 17 points over the final three minutes. Andre Iguodala, right, scored six of his 17 points over the final three minutes.
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DENVER — Andre Iguodala scored six of his 17 points over the final three minutes to help the Denver Nuggets hold off the Detroit Pistons 109-97 and snap a three-game skid on Tuesday night.

The Nuggets broke out their new canary yellow uniforms for their home opener and played pretty snazzy, especially late in the third quarter when they began opening up a 17-point lead. The Pistons rallied late, before Iguodala closed the door with two baskets and a pair of free throws. Iguodala also finished with 10 rebounds.

Greg Monroe scored 27 points for the Pistons, who dropped their fourth straight. Detroit and Washington (0-2) are the only winless teams left in the NBA this season.

Before the tipoff, Iguodala grabbed the microphone and gave a speech to the fans waving gold towels in unison: "This is a big year for us. We need your support."

The Nuggets aren't home all that much in the early going, playing 18 of their next 28 away from Pepsi Center.

So far, the road hasn't been kind to Denver. The team kicked off the regular season by dropping three straight in Philly, Orlando and Miami. But they managed to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1998.

Early in the fourth quarter, Iguodala and Corey Brewer hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Nuggets a 96-80 lead. Moments later, JaVale McGee brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk off a lob from Miller.

The Nuggets appeared to be cruising to the win with 7:41 remaining, but the Pistons cut the deficit to seven when Jonas Jerebko stole the ball from Iguodala and went in for the dunk.

Iguodala turned the ball over again on the next possession.

Then, he took over the game.

McGee finished with 16 points while Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried each added 15.

The Pistons played their third of a winding six-game road swing. They return to California on Wednesday night to play Sacramento, before going to Oklahoma City and finishing up in Houston.

Rodney Stuckey came into the game in a shooting funk, hitting just 1 of his last 23 jumpers. But he found his range against the Nuggets as he finished with 17 points.

Like Stuckey, Danilo Gallinari was struggling with his form. He spent nearly 90 minutes after Monday's practice going through shooting drills designed to restore his confidence. He had it going early, but fell off as the young Italian forward had eight points on 3 of 11 shooting.

The Nuggets led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but could never pull away from the pesky Pistons. Kenneth Faried scored 12 points in the first half to send Denver into the locker room with a 58-51 lead at intermission.

Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said he's trying to get his team to buy into the concept of being more unselfish.

"All the best teams are," Frank said. "Look, who's the most coachable player on the Spurs? Tim Duncan. Who's the most coachable player on the Celtics? Kevin Garnett. Who's the most coachable player in Oklahoma City? Kevin Durant. Who's most coachable player of the Miami Heat? LeBron James. This is not calculus. This is not trying to figure out the next Pythagorean theorem.

"This is easy: Your players have to unite and inspire by how they play. It's that simple."

Notes: Pistons F Corey Maggette sat out a fourth straight game with a strained left calf. ... The Pistons were 6 of 12 from behind the 3-point line. ... Former Nuggets F LaPhonso Ellis brought out the game ball before tipoff. ... Nuggets C Timofey Mozgov (left knee) didn't play. ... The game was momentarily halted late in the first half to clean off blood on Iguodala's left arm.



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