Date: Jan. 9, 2009
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Detroit record: 21-12
Denver record: 25-12
Detroit probable starters:
PG- Rodney Stuckey
SG- Allen Iverson
SF- Tayshaun Prince
PF- Amir Johnson
C- Rasheed Wallace
Denver probable starters:
PG- Chauncey Billups
SG- Dahntay Jones
SF- Linas Kleiza
PF- Kenyon Martin
Spread: Detroit +4
Outlook: This is the game he has been waiting for. His team turned its back on him. Now he’ll get his shot at them.
Eight days after acquiring him in, the Nuggets released Antonio McDyess, and tonight will be his
Oh, and Billups will go against Detroit for the first time since 2002, when his 8-for-10 mark from the floor was overshadowed by Jerry Stackhouse’s 40 point in a 104-83 Minnesota loss.
For the second straight game, Detroit will play battle an opponent missing its best player. Carmelo Anthony is out with a fractured hand.
Billups has steadied the Nuggets, who beat Miami in their only game without Anthony so far. Stuckey has certainly looked like he’ll be special since taking over the starting spot.
Both will play hard tonight because they know everyone will view the matchup as a barometer for the trade. One game doesn’t prove either’s worth, but both players know many will judge their performance tonight.
Billups doesn’t seem like the type to play too much outside of his game under the circumstances. But Iverson does. Wallace, too. Don’t be surprised to see those two Pistons take some shots they wouldn’t normally.
Johnson was in foul trouble against Portland, and that hurt the Pistons defensively. His ability not to repeat that could be the difference maker tonight.