The Denver Nuggets have secured home-court advantage in the first round of the upcoming NBA playoffs. The Nuggets (46-24), who are fourth in the Western Conference, beat Minnesota 114-103 on Thursday as Nikola Jokic scored 31 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to help Denver win its second in a row and stay within one game of the third-place Los Angeles Clippers.
Denver Nuggets (46-24, fourth in the Western Conference) vs. Detroit Pistons (20-50, 15th in the Eastern Conference) Detroit; Friday, 8 p.m. EDT BOTTOM LINE: Detroit comes into the matchup against Denver after losing three in a row. The Pistons have gone 13-21 in home games. Detroit is 9-27 against opponents over .500. The Nuggets are 21-13 in road games. Denver is 23-10 against opponents under .500. The teams square off for the second time this season. The Nuggets won 134-119 in the last meeting on April 6. Nikola Jokic led Denver with 27 points, and Jerami Grant led Detroit with 29 points. TOP PERFORMERS: Josh Jackson is scoring 13.3 points per game and averaging 4.0 rebounds for the Pistons. Saddiq Bey is averaging 16 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 41.8% over the last 10 games for Detroit. Jokic leads the Nuggets scoring 26.5 points and collecting 10.9 rebounds. Austin Rivers is averaging 2.2 made 3-pointers and scoring 9.9 points over the last 10 games for Denver. LAST 10 GAMES: Pistons: 2-8, averaging 103 points, 44.5 rebounds, 23.5 assists, 6.2 steals and 5.6 blocks per game while shooting 46.5% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 108.6 points on 45.4% shooting. Nuggets: 7-3, averaging 113.7 points, 44.3 rebounds, 25.2 assists, 8.7 steals and 4.5 blocks per game while shooting 47.1% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 108 points on 46.4% shooting. INJURIES: Pistons: Cory Joseph: out (ankle), Hamidou Diallo: day to day (health and safety protocols), Isaiah Stewart: out (personal), Dennis Smith Jr.: out (knee), Frank Jackson: out (ankle), Wayne Ellington: out (calf), Mason Plumlee: out (rest), Rodney McGruder: out (elbow), Jerami Grant: out (knee). Nuggets: PJ Dozier: out (adductor), Michael Porter Jr.: out (rest), Jamal Murray: out for season (knee), Will Barton: out (hamstring), Monte Morris: out (injury management). ___ The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar. The Associated Press
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