AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Denver Nuggets needed a bailout from their bench in the first half Tuesday before starting point guard Ty Lawson put all their troubles to rest.
Lawson poured in 26 points, 16 after halftime, as the Nuggets reached .500 with a 101-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace. Lawson also contributed seven assists and four steals while playing 40 turnover-free minutes.
"His orchestration was great," Denver coach George Karl said. "They had trouble covering him."
The Nuggets' bench was just as effective. Corey Brewer had 15 points, JaVale McGee chipped in 12, all in the first half, and Andre Miller added 11 points, seven assists and three steals.
Denver (11-11) won its sixth straight over Detroit and swept the season series. The Nuggets are 2-2 on their five-game road trip, which ends in Minnesota on Wednesday.
"The bench came in and gave us a good lift," Lawson said. "JaVale was dunking everything, Corey Brewer was getting steals and easy baskets, and Andre was controlling the tempo. They helped us get back in the game, and we took it from there."
The Pistons (7-17) gave away a 17-point lead for the second straight home game while losing for the fourth time in five games. Jason Maxiell had a season-high 18 points and a career-high-tying six blocks. Brandon Knight contributed 20 points, and Rodney Stuckey added 17.
Detroit, playing for the fourth game in five nights, outrebounded the Nuggets 51-37 but couldn't overcome its 16 turnovers.
"The game is about resolve and mental toughness," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "It's a six-point game at half, a six-point game at the end of the third quarter, and then we cut it to two. But in the fourth quarter, we could not control the penetration off the pick-and-roll. It's a game of runs, and we just didn't have enough to get it done."
Center Greg Monroe, who had 27 points in the first meeting, was held to six on 1-for-9 shooting despite five offensive rebounds.
"He never got any rhythm on his shots," Karl said. "There was always someone in front of him. Even on his offensive rebounds, we got in his face and didn't allow an easy put-back."
Lawson scored 12 third-quarter points, including a runner just before the buzzer that gave Denver a 72-66 advantage. Brewer's third 3-pointer nudged the Nuggets' lead to 82-74 with 6:44 remaining. The Pistons pulled within four on Maxiell's free throws with 2:09 remaining, but Danilo Gallinari's 3-pointer 21 seconds later iced the Nuggets' win.
"Denver made some great plays down the stretch," Pistons forward Corey Maggette said. "Ty Lawson got into our paint and made some plays early on, and they had JaVale McGee going with some easy buckets. The transition plays put us in a (bad) situation."
The Nuggets led 48-42 at halftime after the Pistons started the game on a 21-4 run. McGee lit the spark with five dunks, including a strip of Monroe and a fast-break throw-down for Denver's first lead of the game, 41-39. The Nuggets finished the half with a 15-3 outburst.
Maxiell had his six blocks by halftime, including three in the first seven minutes. After Detroit's early flurry, Denver ratcheted up the defensive pressure, forcing eight second-quarter turnovers while erasing the double-digit deficit.
NOTES: The Pistons had a 14-game home winning streak against the Nuggets snapped two seasons ago. Denver didn't play at The Palace last season. ... Entering play Tuesday, the Nuggets led the NBA in offensive rebounding (14.5 per game) and points in the paint (53.9 per game), but they ranked 26th in 3-point shooting, which has sometimes offset their inside advantage. "If teams are going to let you get to the rim, we're going to take it to the rim," Karl said. "If teams take the rim out, we've got to find the 3-ball. It's important to us, but we haven't found it as consistently as we'd like. We've got to trust in an NBA season, players will shoot what they normally shoot." ... Both teams have endured rugged early schedules. The Pistons have played more games than any other team, while the Nuggets have played 10 more games on the road than at home. ... Detroit rookie center Andre Drummond had 11 rebounds, four more than he grabbed in the previous three games combined. "Andre's game is totally based on energy and activity," Frank said. "When he plays hard, he can make up for being out of position or not being in the proper coverage."