Nuggets Ready To Roll Against Slumping Pistons

The Denver Nuggets used a collective effort to record one of their most impressive victories of the season. They’ll now get an easier assignment – a date with slumping Detroit.Denver, which has won eight of its last 11 games, will play a Sunday matinee at Little Caesars Arena against the Pistons, who have lost five straight.Everyone that Nuggets coach Michael Malone used on Friday made a major contribution in a 127-115 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. All nine players who saw action scored 10 or more points while downing the Bucks, who had lost just two home games. The last time a team used nine or more players and each scored in double figures was the Phoenix Suns in 1994.Denver had won at Utah the night before and Malone nearly rested center Nikola Jokic and swingman Will Barton, who wound up scoring a team- high 24 points. “This was a game where I was actually going to try to sit a couple guys because I’ve been asking so much of Nikola, been asking so much of Will,” Malone told the Denver Post. “Nobody wanted to sit. ‘They’re like, no coach, I’m playing.'” The Nuggets have been rolling along without the starting backcourt of Jamal Murray (ankle) and Gary Harris (personal), as well as forward Paul Millsap (knee) and backup center Mason Plumlee (foot) .It’s uncertain whether Harris will rejoin the team in Detroit, but Murray will definitely not play against the Pistons. “As much as we’d like to get him back as quickly as possible , I think it’s smart for us and prudent for us to be patient and not rush him back because when he’s out there, I want him playing with confidence and not worrying about that ankle injury that he sustained, “Malone said.Denver got a scare when forward Michael Porter Jr. rolled his ankle in the fourth quarter, but Porter said he was “good” afterward.Nothing seems to faze the Nuggets, who have the second-best record in the Western Conference. “At the end of the day , we feel like we’re one of the best teams in the league, “Barton told the Post. “Top-tier teams don’t make excuses, chasing what we’re trying to chase. You always expect to win, in our mind, no matter what anyone else thinks.” The same can’t be said of the Pistons, whose season has been wrecked by injuries. Coach Dwane Casey is giving his younger players a chance to develop. “We’ve got to have a plan to get our team in that position and that’s what we’re doing now. There is a plan,” he said.First-round draft pick Sekou Doumbouya is a big part of that plan but he was benched during Friday’s 105-92 loss to Toronto. Doumbouya has struggled in recent games and Casey decided to have the 19-year-old forward watch and learn. “It’s not because he did anything wrong. Just thought I needed to breathe a little bit, to sit back and watch,” Casey said . “He’s going to get his time. I thought he hit a little wall. But there is a plan to develop these young guys.” The Nuggets and Pistons will be meeting for the first time this season. The rematch is set for Feb. 25 in Denver .– Field Level Media