Nuggets hold off short-handed Pistons

Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson (3) shoots over Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Mich.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Will Barton scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and the Denver Nuggets held off the depleted Detroit Pistons 103-92 on Wednesday night.

Detroit was without three starters. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been out with a core muscle strain, and the team announced before the game that Reggie Jackson and Ersan Ilyasova had been ill and would be sidelined as well.

Denver led by eight early in the fourth, but the Pistons closed to 83-82 after consecutive 3-pointers by Anthony Tolliver. Randy Foye made a 3 to halt that run, and Denver was able to hold onto its lead the rest of the way.

Andre Drummond had 15 points and 17 rebounds for Detroit but shot 7 of 22 from the field.

In the last game before the All-Star break for both teams, Detroit retired Chauncey Billups’ No. 1 at halftime. The Pistons led 53-52 at the half, but this was always going to be a bit of a struggle for them with so many key players out.

Marcus Morris led the Pistons with 19 points. Detroit has lost six of eight.

Barton came into the game ranked in the top 10 in the league in fourth-quarter scoring with an average of 6.2 points. He now has six quarters of at least 15 points this season.

Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay has scored in double figures in 13 of his last 17 games. He had 14 points Wednesday.

Pistons: Detroit (27-27) enters the All-Star break at or above .500 for the first time since the Pistons were 27-24 in 2009. That was also the year of their most recent playoff appearance. … It was the second-most field goal attempts for Drummond in a game this season. He had 25 in a December win at Chicago that went four overtimes.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: At Sacramento on Feb. 19.

Pistons: At Washington on Feb. 19.

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