Pistons-Nuggets Preview

The Associated Press

Two of the NBA's four winless teams meet Tuesday night, though one of them being without a victory comes as a bigger surprise than the other.

After a disheartening three-game road trip, the Denver Nuggets open their home schedule against the Detroit Pistons with both teams looking to get on track offensively.

Denver was stunned in the finale of its trip, losing 119-116 to Miami on Saturday as Ray Allen's four-point play with 6.7 seconds gave Denver its first 0-3 start in six years.

Danilo Gallinari's struggles in his two games haven't helped. The club's second-leading scorer last season, Gallinari is averaging 18.0 points but shooting 25.8 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.

He was 3 of 17 overall and 1 for 9 from beyond the arc against the Heat, missing a potential tying 3 with two seconds left.

"The timing wasn't right," Gallinari said.

After averaging 82.0 points in the first two games, the Nuggets did show signs of offensive life Saturday. Denver shot 51.5 percent and had seven players score in double figures.

After totaling 20 points in the first two contests, newcomer Andre Iguodala scored 22 and shot 9 of 15. Kenneth Faried had 22 points and 12 rebounds after totaling eight and 12 in the first two contests, while Javale McGee added 16 points and nine boards.

For a team coming off a 38-28 season and facing higher expectations in 2012-13, though, progress will only be measured in victories.

"Right now we just need to get a win," coach George Karl said.

The Pistons' start is much less of a shock, as the club is 0-3 for the third consecutive season. Detroit lost double-digit leads in the first two games before falling behind 34-13 in a 108-79 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

The starters went 11 for 39 from the floor and coach Lawrence Frank emptied the bench midway through the third quarter.

"We know this is a building group," Frank told the team's official website. "It's unacceptable to get your doors blown off like we did and yet we know there's a big disparity right now between us and the Lakers."

A backcourt struggling to find its shooting touch is one of the biggest reasons for the Pistons' 88.0 points-per-game average, which ranks near the bottom of the league. Brandon Knight is averaging 10.0 points and is shooting 31.4 percent while Rodney Stuckey has 10 points and has gone 1 of 23 from the floor.

Stuckey has missed his last 18 shots and was held scoreless in 25 minutes against the Lakers. He has reportedly been dealing with migraine headaches.

Tuesday marks the third game in a quirky six-game road trip for the Pistons, as they return to California on Wednesday to play Sacramento before heading to Oklahoma City on Friday.

Denver has won the last four meetings with Detroit, shooting at least 56 percent in each of the previous two. The Nuggets won the only matchup last season in Denver on March 21, 116-115 on McGee's dunk with five seconds left. The Pistons lost despite hitting 14 of 18 3-pointers.

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