Pistons-Nuggets Preview

The Associated Press

The signing of Wilson Chandler seems like it couldn't have come at a better time for the Denver Nuggets.

With Danilo Gallinari and Andre Miller suffering injuries in their last game, the Nuggets might need Chandler to shoulder more of the offense Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons.

Denver (25-21) re-signed Chandler to a five-year deal worth nearly $37 million Sunday. He was acquired last February as part of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York and averaged 12.5 points while starting 19 of 21 games.

He then played overseas during the lockout, averaging nearly 27 points and 12 rebounds in 32 games, but couldn't return to the NBA until his Chinese team and FIBA - basketball's governing body - signed off. That finally happened and he was back on the court Monday against Dallas.

The timing was impeccable as Gallinari and Miller left with injuries in the 112-95 loss.

Miller, who averages 10.1 points and 6.5 assists, separated his right shoulder and is expected to miss at least one game. Gallinari, who was averaging 18.0 points in his previous three contests, broke his left thumb and could be out a month.

"I don't know how long it's going to be," Gallinari told the Nuggets' official website. "It's not going to be short. It's a fracture. The doctor told me the fracture takes four weeks to heal. Hopefully I can put something on and play sooner than that."

Chandler had 13 points and took a team-high 16 shots in 28 minutes Monday, and the 6-foot-8 swingman will likely be even more involved in the offense against the Pistons (16-29).

Starting point guard Ty Lawson, who averages team highs of 15.2 points and 6.8 assists, will also probably see his minutes increase with Miller sidelined.

This season's only matchup with the Pistons concludes a nine-game homestand in which the Nuggets have split the first eight. Monday's defeat dropped Denver 1 1/2 games back of Dallas for sixth place in the Western Conference, and it gave the tiebreaker to the Mavericks since they won the season series.

"As I told the team, I'm excited about what's going to happen in the next 20 games," coach George Karl said. "It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be fun. It's going to be a challenge. There will be some great games."

Karl said he expects center JaVale McGee, acquired from Washington on Thursday, to get some minutes against the Pistons after dressing but not playing Monday.

Detroit arrives in Denver to conclude a five-game trip after suffering an 87-83 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Greg Monroe had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Tayshaun Prince scored 20 for the Pistons, who shot 3 for 16 in the fourth quarter while blowing a late nine-point lead.

"We're putting ourselves in position," coach Lawrence Frank said, "and the next step is learning how to finish out games."

The Pistons haven't had much luck doing that on the road, where they've lost six of seven and are 4-18.

The Nuggets swept last season's two-game series with Detroit for the first time since 1993-94, and they've won three in a row over the Pistons after losing 16 of the previous 18 meetings.

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