AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Thirty years ago, the Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184 in triple overtime, a game that remains the highest scoring in NBA history.
Saturday, the same teams played a game that also featured nearly as little defense.
Once again, it was Detroit coming out on top, riding a combined 65 points and 20 assists from Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith to post a 126-109 victory.
Randy Foye led the Nuggets with 25 points, while Wilson Chandler scored 20 and J.J. Hickson added 15 points and 16 rebounds. Denver lost point guard Ty Lawson to a fractured rib late in the first half. Evan Fournier replaced him at the start of the second half, with Foye moving from shooting guard to the point, and Denver wasn't able to keep up the scoring pace.
"You could see it take the wind out of us when Ty came out of the game," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "He's our floor leader and he's the one who controls the pace and the tempo of the game. He's also the best guy we have to stay in front of Jennings."
Still, Detroit needed to put up its highest point total in regulation since March 18, 2008, when they scored 136 against, of course, the Nuggets.
"That's a product of the way Denver plays," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We're not used to playing at that kind of pace, but we stepped up and made the adjustments to stay with them."
The win was a victory of sorts for embattled Pistons President Joe Dumars, who saw his two big offseason acquisitions put up big numbers. Jennings had a season-high 35 points and 12 assists — the first Piston to do that since Isiah Thomas in 1988 — while Smith had 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
"I think that pushing the ball and making it an up-tempo game made it easier to get the shots that we've been looking for," Smith said. "Guys were setting screens, we were communicating and talking on defense, and it was good. It's fun to be part of something when we're doing it the right way."
Jennings also hit six 3-pointers, something he has struggled with all season. His outside shooting was important on a night when Denver hit 15 3s and Jennings' teammates only combined for two.
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