Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Greg Monroe's career night fueled the Detroit Pistons to a 98-88 victory over the reeling Denver Nuggets on Friday.
Monroe scored 21 points, pulled down a career-high 21 rebounds and helped limit the frontcourt of Jusuf Nurkic and Kenneth Faried on the defensive end.
"Greg was fabulous tonight," Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He dominated."
Monroe, D.J. Augustin and Andre Drummond all recorded double-doubles by the end of the third quarter as the Pistons built a 22-point lead that was trimmed to six in the final minute. Monroe and Augustin combined to shoot 8-for-8 from the foul line to close out Detroit's third win in four games.
Augustin finished with 22 points and 11 assists, Drummond donated 13 points and 13 rebounds and Jodie Meeks chipped in with 18 points off the bench.
Ty Lawson totaled 20 points and nine assists for the Nuggets, who have dropped five straight and 12 of 13 overall.
Denver cruised to a 10-point win over the Pistons when they met in the season opener back on Oct. 29, but the teams have veered in different directions in the three months since.
The Pistons won each of the first three quarters and led 28-21 at the end of one and 56-42 at halftime. Meeks scored 12 of his points in the second quarter and the team was shooting 52.2 percent from the field at the break.
Things played out much the same way in the third quarter, and a 14-0 run -- highlighted by two Augustin 3-pointers -- extended Detroit's lead to an insurmountable 74-52 with five minutes left in the frame.
"We didn't start defending until the second half," Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw said. "We dug a hole for ourselves."
Nurkic and Faried shot a combined 5-of-19 (26 percent) from the field for just 16 points ... Detroit outscored the Nuggets in the paint 52-36 and scored twice as many second-chance points, 16-8.