DENVER – At its worst, the Nuggets let the Pistons stick around.
At its best, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee brought the Pepsi Center fans to their feet in their 109-97 home-opening win over the Detroit Pistons.
Tuesday, Andre Iguodala scored 17 and grabbed 10 rebounds in his first game in front of his Denver fans.
“We’re a work in progress,” Iguodala said after the game.
The Nuggets came out punching to take a 17-7 lead in the first, as Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson all hit quick 3′s.
On the game, the Nugs swished 1/3 of their long-distance shots, while firing 44 percent from the field. The Pistons shot 50 percent of their 3′s, but took 18 fewer attempts.
Late in the fourth, the Nuggets seemed to have the game sealed away at 99-82 with less than 8 minutes remaining. But then, like so many times last season and early this season, the Nuggets went cold — prom-date snubbing cold.
The Pistons went on a 10-0 run to pull the game to 99-92, before Iggy made his first real impression in front of the Denver faithful.
Iggy scored the game’s next six points, as the Nuggets (1-3) coasted to the win over the lowly Pistons (0-4).
For the Nuggets, alongside Iggy’s 17, McGee had 16, while Faried and Lawson each scored 15.
The Nuggets out-rebounded the Pistons 52-to-35.
Detroit’s Greg Monroe scored a game-high 27 points on 10-for-20 shooting.
The Nuggets face the Rockets Wednesday at Houston.
Andre Miller and JaVale McGee hook up for their second alley-oop of the game. Miller floated it up from the left of the key, and McGee threw it down — and was fouled in the process.
McGee hit his free throw to make it 99-82 Nuggets with 7:41 remaining.
The Nuggets look like they’ve pulled away for good, as Corey Brewer hit his third 3 of the night to go up 96-80 with 9:10 remaining.
Third quarter score: Nuggets 85, Pistons 76
Andre Miller stole the ball at half court and flipped JaVale McGee the thunderous alley-oop with a dribble over 1 minute left in the quarter.
Then, McGee threw down his 13th point with 34 seconds left in the third.
Corey Brewer punched in a McGee miss off the glass to make it 85-76 with 2 seconds remaining.
The Nuggets outscored the Pistons 27-to-25 in the quarter.
Pistons forward Jason Maxiell scored six points in the third quarter, including a 15-footer to tied the game at 67 with 4:48 left in the quarter.
Then, Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala hit back-to-back 3′s, as the Nugs hold a 75-69 lead with 3 minutes left in the third.
Sloppy at times, but the Nuggets are clearly the superior team.
Halftime score: Nuggets 58, Pistons 51
Kenneth Faried ripped down another offensive rebound, as he slammed home his 12th point of the game. He also has six rebounds and a block in his 14 minutes.
Pistons take the first lead of the game with 10:14 left in the half; 29-28. Now, with 8:50 remaining in the half Corey Brewer hit his second 3-pointer of the game to give the Nuggets the 34-32 lead.
First quarter score: Nuggets 24, Pistons 21
The Pistons’ Rodney Stuckey leads all scorers with 10 points. Detroit shot 42 percent while the Nuggets shot 52 percent.
Nuggets have seven turnovers, but Corey Brewer hit a 3 with 3 seconds left in the first to take the 24-21 lead after one.
Andre Iguodala struggling early in his debut in Denver. He’s 1-for-4 with three points and a turnover. The Nuggets lead only 19-18 after the Pistons went on a 7-0 run before a timeout with 2:10 remaining the the first quarter.
Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried lead a fast break to put the Nuggets up 15-5 with 6:06 left in the first. Lawson pitched it back to Faried, who tore apart the rim with a rattling dunk.
Pistons might be the new Lions of Detroit.
Kosta Kofus leads the Nuggets with four points on 2-for-2 shooting as the home team leads the Pistons 10-3 with 8 minutes to go.
Nuggets starting lineup: PG Ty Lawson, SF Danilo Gallinari, C Kosta Koufos, PF Kenneth “Manimal” Faried and SG Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala grabbed the microphone right before tipoff and thanked the Pepsi Center fans.
“It’s going to be a big year,” he said to the roaring crowd. “Let’s get it started.”
Gallinari hit his first shot to make it 2-0 good guys.