Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/7

Game 1: Thursday, November 7th
Game 2: Saturday, November 16th

Pistons 89

(5-1, 3-1 away)

Nuggets 63


    8:00 PM ET, November 7, 2002

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 17 24 28 2089
    DEN 14 17 14 1863

    Top Performers

    Detroit: C. Billups 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast

    Denver: J. Posey 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast

    Pistons handcuff Nuggets in defensive gem

    DENVER (AP) -- Chauncey Billups had a happy homecoming -- and left the Denver Nuggets wondering why they didn't more actively pursue him in the free-agent market last summer.

    Chauncey Billups

    Billups was 5-for-8 from 3-point range and scored 21 points Thursday night to lead the Detroit Pistons to an 89-63 win over the Nuggets.

    Billups had 10 points in the third quarter to help the Pistons increase a 10-point lead to as much as 27. He did not play in the fourth quarter.

    The Nuggets were in the market for a point guard but showed only passing interest in Billups, who starred at Denver's George Washington High School and at the University of Colorado in addition to playing for the Nuggets from 1998-2000.

    He made them pay for the slight.

    "It's definitely like a home game for me,'' Billups said. "You always want to play good in front of your family and friends.

    "I'm definitely playing for bragging rights, too, because I'm here all summer and I work out here in the Pepsi Center with some of those guys. I just feel comfortable here.''

    Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said he was "happy for Chauncey. He really controlled the tempo with his decision-making, and his shotmaking on the 3 was the difference in the game. His five 3's gave us a cushion to pull away, and he was really solid defensively as well.''

    Richard Hamilton added 15 points for Detroit, and Ben Wallace had 13 rebounds.

    James Posey led Denver with 21 points, and rookie reserve Nene Hilario added 10.

    Detroit shot 48 percent compared to Denver's 32 percent.

    The Nuggets' turnover total of 21 nearly matched their field-goal total of 23.

    Detroit, the NBA's top defensive team, held the Nuggets to their fewest points ever in a home game. The previous low at home was 65 points against San Antonio on March 25, 1999.

    The 63 points, just two shy of the franchise record overall, tied the second-lowest total in team history, a figure reached three times.

    Also, Denver failed to score at least 20 points in a quarter for only the second time in franchise history.

    "We played a very, very good basketball team,'' Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "And we didn't shoot well. I was concerned about our ability to score coming into this game.

    "We had some looks and we couldn't convert. We also had some fastbreak opportunities and we weren't very efficient on the break.

    "When you're not shooting the ball and you're turning the ball over with unforced turnovers, you put too much pressure on your defense to always come up with stops. We tried to defend, but your spirit gets broken after a while when you can't score.''

    Billups keyed a 9-0 run in the third quarter that padded the lead to 58-37.

    Billups had three 3-pointers in the period, the last of which put Detroit up 69-42.

    The Nuggets trailed by 12 before going nearly 4 minutes without a point midway through the third quarter.

    Zeljko Rebraca triggered the 9-0 run with a tip-in. Hamilton hit a jumper from the corner, Billups a 3-pointer and Michael Curry a 19-foot jumper.

    Posey scored Denver's first seven points to open the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 19 points, but the Nuggets could get no closer.

    In a ragged first quarter that saw the teams combine for 11 turnovers in the first 7 minutes, Detroit scored the last six points in the period. Clifford Robinson's 3-pointer helped the Pistons take a 17-14 lead.

    Detroit shot 44 percent in the second period compared to Denver's 21 percent to take a 41-31 lead at intermission.

    Billups' 3-pointer and Wallace's layup gave Detroit its biggest lead of the half, 39-27.

    Game notes

    At halftime, the Nuggets honored Doug Moe, the winningest coach in franchise history, by hoisting a banner bearing Moe's name and the number 432. In 10 seasons in Denver, Moe had a 432-357 record and led the team to nine straight postseason appearances. ... It was the Pistons' fourth game in five nights. ... Nuggets point guard Chris Whitney, who severely sprained his left ankle Tuesday night, started but played only 20 minutes. ... Nuggets forward Rodney White, the ninth pick overall by Detroit in 2001, was traded to Denver on Oct. 1. White scored two points and had two rebounds in 16 minutes.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 89 63
    FGM-FGA 33-69 (.478) 23-72 (.319)
    3PM-3PA 9-17 (.529) 2-9 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 14-19 (.737) 15-23 (.652)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-44 10-37
    Assists 23 18
    Turnovers 18 21
    Steals 9 10
    Blocks 7 5
    Fast Break Points 5 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 21 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 21
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    James Posey Posey
    Points: 21
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0