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Nuggets 118, Pistons 109

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DENVER — Guard Aaron Brooks scored a season-high 27 points and dished out a career-high 17 assists, and the Denver Nuggets overcame the absence of two starters to beat the struggling Detroit Pistons 118-109 on Wednesday night.

Guard Randy Foye scored 22 for the Nuggets, who won four of their last five.

The Pistons, in a months-long spiral, came into Denver after four days off but it didn’t help change their fortunes. Wednesday’s loss made it 13 in 16 games and extended their road losing streak to 11 games.

Center Greg Monroe had 22 points and guard Rodney Stuckey added 18 for Detroit, which has not won away from home since beating Washington on Jan. 18.

The game featured two ailing teams. Detroit center Andre Drummond was out with a neck injury while the Nuggets were missing two of their best players. Guard Ty Lawson (sinus infection) and forward Wilson Chandler (hip) were out, leaving Denver looking like a roster that lost eight of nine last month.

The Nuggets played like it early. It took nearly three minutes for them to score their first points of the game, and after taking a lead in the final seconds of the first quarter, they trailed for the next 24 minutes.

Detroit, behind 14 first-half points by Stuckey, who made his first start of the season, led by as many as 11. It carried over into the third quarter before Denver rallied.

Detroit’s lead was five when forward Josh Smith, the team’s leading scorer, picked up a technical when he mixed it up with Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried. Faried was also slapped with a technical.

Before the ball was inbounded Smith picked up a second technical and was ejected with 6:53 left in the period.

Foye scored eight of his 12 third-quarter points over the rest of the period, including a steal and layup that gave Denver an 85-84 lead heading into the fourth.

Brooks hit two shots and fed forward J.J. Hickson for a dunk as the Nuggets took a 104-91 lead midway through the period.

Forward Charlie Villanueva 11 of his 13 points in the fourth to get the Pistons to within four in the final minute but Denver held on.

NOTES: Nuggets G Ty Lawson was a late scratch from the lineup. Lawson left Wednesday’s shootaround with a sinus infection and headaches but was initially listed in the starting lineup before G Aaron Brooks took his place just before the lineups were announced. … Pistons C Andre Drummond was out with neck injury suffered in Detroit’s last game, Saturday against Indiana. … Nuggets F Wilson Chandler had an injection in his sore left hip and did not dress. He is questionable for Friday’s game at Dallas. … Pistons G Chauncey Billups, a Denver native and former Nuggets player, received a warm ovation when he was shown on Detroit’s bench in a suit. Billups has played just 19 games this year and is out after having surgery on his left knee.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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