The Pistons were dealt their first loss, 119-82 at Dallas on Saturday, as they shot 5-for-19 from the field in their lowest-scoring first quarter of the season.
Detroit opened this season with eight straight wins, matching the second-best start in franchise history—trailing only the 9-0 mark set by the 1970-71 team.
Richard Hamilton had 18 points to lead Detroit, which had been limiting opponents to a league-low 87 points per game before Saturday’s loss.
The Pistons were clearly weary from a 78-70 victory at Houston the night before.
“They knew we played a tough game on the road,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “They jumped on things and played aggressive. We thought we would have an opportunity to kind of play our way into the game but they beat us every which way you could get beat.”
Denver won its season-best fourth straight with a 108-105 victory at Washington on Tuesday.
Marcus Camby continued his outstanding play with 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks, giving him nine double-doubles in 12 games this season.
“I don’t like to talk about it. I just go out there and play. My teammates are doing a great job of finding me in my favorite spots on the court,” Camby said. “It’s a team effort. I can’t go out there and do it by myself.”
Camby got plenty of help from Carmelo Anthony, who had 28 points and 11 rebounds and Earl Boykins, who scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, but it was Camby who drew the biggest praise from coach George Karl.
“This year there’s no big guy playing basketball as well as he’s playing basketball,” Karl said. “He’s such a good defensive player, and he has such pride in situations like that.”
Martin, who will be a game-time decision, has missed five of Denver’s past six games with left knee tendinitis. Denver is 5-0 without its star forward.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 22): Nuggets - 1st place, Northwest Division. Pistons - 1st place (tied), Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Nuggets - Anthony, 21.3 ppg; Camby, 14.3 rpg; Miller, 7.3 apg. Pistons - Hamilton, 21.8 ppg; B. Wallace, 11.3 rpg; Billups, 8.3 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 26; Pistons, 87-70. At Detroit, Antonio McDyess came off the bench to score 13 points and pull down eight rebounds for the Pistons.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Nuggets - 2-4 on the road; Pistons - 3-0 at home.