DENVER (AP) — Chauncey Billups scored 25 points, Carmelo Anthony added 24 and the Denver Nuggets snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Detroit Pistons with a 107-102 victory Friday night.
J.R. Smith added 15 points and Arron Afflalo had 14 for the Nuggets, who beat the Pistons for the first time in four years. Joey Graham, who with Malik Allen played in place of the injured Kenyon Martin (knee contusion), chipped in 13 points.
In the tightly contested game, the Pistons had gone in front 70-67 when Austin Daye made a 3-pointer with 2:36 left in the third quarter. The Nuggets responded with a 10-1 surge that helped them take a 77-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
The lead changed hands six times during the final period, with Detroit going in front for the last time at 93-92 on Richard Hamilton's 3-pointer with 4:53 remaining.
Denver scored 10 of the next 12 points, punctuated by Billups' 3-pointer with 2:22 left after Maxiell had hit a short jumper to seemingly stall the Nuggets' momentum.
Billups and Anthony combined to make seven of eight free throws down the stretch secure the victory.
Down 29-22 after the first quarter, the Nuggets got a boost from Graham in the second quarter, when he scored 11 points, including a pair of breakaway dunks. Afflalo also connected twice from 3-point range and the Nuggets moved in front 53-49 at halftime.
Notes: The Nuggets improved to 30-3 when leading after three quarters, including 22-0 at home. ... It was Detroit's first loss to the Nuggets since March 1, 2006.