|Date of game: 10/29/2014
Recap: Denver vs. Detroit
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried was able to carry the momentum from his starring role on Team USA this summer into the NBA regular season.
Faried had 22 points, 17 rebounds and four assists in Denver's season-opening 89-79 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Fresh off helping the United States win gold and earning All-Tournament honors at the FIBA World Cup, Faried was at his best for the playoff-hopeful Nuggets. Denver missed the postseason a year ago, finishing with 21 fewer wins than the 2012-13 season while dealing with a number of injuries.
"Every night I have to go out there and prove myself," Faried said.
Finally healthy, these Nuggets hope to contend in a crowded Western Conference. Arron Afflalo chipped in 15 points and Timofey Mozgov tallied 13 and 11 rebounds.
All 12 Nuggets that took the floor scored at least two points.
Josh Smith netted a game-high 25 points to lead Detroit, which was without forward Greg Monroe, who is serving a suspension for a DUI arrest last February and is out for the first two games of this season.
"We just never got into any flow offensively," Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Denver led by two through three quarters and put the game away early in the fourth despite shooting just 5-for-22 in the period. One of those buckets was an 18-foot jumper by Faried, who hit it 12 seconds after checking in to extend the lead to six at the 5:48 mark.
Detroit scored the next four points on layups from Andre Drummond and A.J. Augustin to get within two. Out of a timeout, Faried hit a pair of free throws amd Mozgov made one of two from the stripe before his tip-slam made it 84-77.
The Nuggets made just 5-of-8 from the foul line after that, but got enough stops to hold off the visiting Pistons.
Neither team led by more than six points during a balanced first half that featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
Denver led by three after Nate Robinson's three-point play at 7:35 of the second, but the Pistons countered with nine in a row. Jonas Jerebko knotted the score with a triple and Kyle Singler capped the run with a 3-ball less than a minute later.
The Nuggets responted from there, with Ty Lawson's step-back jumper near the end of the half sending Denver into the locker room leading 42-40.
Afflalo came alive in the third, dropping 10 points on 4-of-6 to help Denver hold onto its lead. The teams played to a draw in the period, and the spread was 65-63 heading into the fourth.Game Notes
The Nuggets have won six straight games in the series ... Denver outrebounded
the Pistons, 51-45 ... Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, starting for
the injured Jodie Meeks, shot 3-of-19 from the floor.