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>>caption: VILLANUEVA DRIVES VS
@ PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS:
Former Piston Chauncey Billups
missed a layup just before the
buzzer and the Pistons held on for
a 101-99 win over the Denver
Nuggets Thursday night.
Detroit stretched its winning
streak to a season-high four games.
The Pistons dug deep for this
victory with Will Bynum (ankles)
joining Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince
and Richard Hamilton on the injured list.
Charlie Villanueva made the first of two
free throws to snap a 96-all tie with 2:23 remaining. Ben Wallace's rebound and
put-back then made it 99-96 Pistons with 1:58 left. Carmelo Anthony's 9-foot
jumper for Denver was countered by a Rodney Stuckey layup for a 101-98 margin
with 57-sec on the clock. The only other scoring was by Anthony with 52-sec left,
when he split a pair of free throws.
Villanueva led the Piston effort with 27-P and Stuckey added 25. The only other
Piston scoring in double figures was rookie Jonas Jarebko with 12-P. Wallace (7-P)
grabbed a game-high 16-RB.
Anthony was game-high for the Nuggets with 40-P, his NBA-leading 14th game
this season with 30 or more points. (Anthony has failed to reach the 20-P plateau only
once all season.) Billups scored 21-P and J.R. Smith 14-P.
Detroit is now 10-12 and Denver 16-7.
PISTONS H-COACH JOHN KUESTER: "It's very rewarding to watch our guys compete.
We're starting to learn how to win and finish games. That's huge."
PISTONS FWD CHARLIE VILLANUEVA: "I know it was tough to let Chauncey go because
he was a winner who the fans loved, but we really have the pieces to be good this season
and the years to come. I just can't wait to see how good we will be when we start getting
some of the guys back [from injury]."
NUGGETS GD CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: "We're not a great team. We're a good team. We
should be winning games like this...I got what I wanted [on his final shot attempt]."
NUGETS H-COACH GEORGE KARL: "[Anthony is] amazing when he gets into that
offensive groove. But we just didn't have enough guys going with him...It was Chauncey
in Detroit so I thought that [last attempt] was the right shot, and I'm happy with the look
he got. It just didn't go down...We did what we've consistently done in losses -- we give
young teams hope and confidence early. I didn't think we took them seriously in the first
half. Our scouting report was focused on Stuckey and Charlie, so it shouldn't have been a
surprise that they were the ones scoring."
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