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Sunday's Nuggets report

Published October 15, 2007 at midnight

What's the point?

Point guard Anthony Roberson's stay with the Nuggets might not be as short as once expected.

"I think his chances are good to make the roster early," Karl said before Sunday night's preseason game at Detroit.

Roberson then did little to hurt those chances. He led the Nuggets with 22 points and handed out four assists, although they lost 109-106.

Roberson looked to be training camp fodder earlier this month. But point guard Anthony Carter suffered a broken right hand Oct. 6 and is expected to miss the first week or two of the regular season.

"I just take it one game at a time and play hard," Roberson said.

If Roberson begins the season as the team's 15th player, he could be let go when Carter returns. But he still must make it to opening night.

The Nuggets are keeping their eyes on the waiver wire for point guards that might become available. Karl said the Nuggets could find somebody who's "better than Anthony."

Karl likes Roberson's shooting, but he often forces shots.

With the Nuggets trailing 107-104, Karl wanted a good shot, even if it was a two-pointer. But Karl said Roberson had too quick of a trigger on a 26-footer that misfired with 11 seconds left.

Taking a rest

The stars didn't come out Sunday night. At least not for the Nuggets.

Karl didn't use forward Carmelo Anthony and guard Allen Iverson.

Anthony, who played into September with USA Basketball, was rested while Karl said Iverson has a bruise on his troublesome left elbow.

"We don't want to rush it (with Iverson)," said Karl, who isn't sure about the status of the two for Tuesday against Milwaukee in Green Bay, Wis.

Karl said he is "somewhat" less inclined to rest stars in a preseason game in a non-NBA city compared with an NBA city.

Atkins still hurting

After sitting out the first two preseason games because of a groin strain, Nuggets guard Chucky Atkins made his debut Sunday.

It didn't last long.

Atkins started. But after shooting 0-of-3 for two points in 10 minutes, he went to the bench in the second quarter and was done for the night.

"I sort of tweaked it a little bit and I decided to come out," Atkins said. "I think I'll be fine. The main thing is for me to get 100 percent. . . . I was able to go 75 percent speedwise."

Atkins is dubious about playing Tuesday or Wednesday against Detroit in Grand Rapids, Mich. Karl is concerned about having injuries at the point, saying they're "not getting a feel how to play with who."

Billups pulls for Rockies

The Rockies are becoming quite profitable for Pistons point guard and Denver native Chauncey Billups.

"They're winning me a lot of money," Billups said of team bets he's had, including with Philadelphia fans Rasheed Wallace and Flip Murray.

Billups stressed he can't be accused of jumping on the bandwagon.

"I have a right to cheer for the Rockies," he said. "I'm from Denver."

Numbers game

51 seasons the Detroit Pistons have played, including this one. Nevertheless, a large logo on the court at the Palace of Auburn Hills reads, "Detroit Pistons, 1957-58 2007-08 50 Seasons."

Short visit

Karl might once have coached in Wisconsin, but it's not as if the Nuggets will be spending much time there before or after their Tuesday preseason game in Green Bay against Milwaukee, his former team.

Rather than fly today to Wisconsin, the Nuggets will practice in the Detroit area, where they played Sunday. They'll have the morning shootaround Tuesday outside Detroit before flying to Green Bay, arriving at about 4 p.m., three hours before tipoff.

After the game, the Nuggets will fly to Grand Rapids, where they'll play the Pistons on Wednesday.

He said it

"I don't remember (the points) as much as I remember his mistakes."

Karl, asked about a scoring flurry Sunday by J.R. Smith, who shot 4-of-14 for 13 points while committing four turnovers and fouling out.

Etc.

Karl was impressed with Bobby Jones, saying he had the best game of any Denver player. "He was a factor defensively and a factor physically," Karl said of the forward who scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Jones called that "a great compliment" he hopes to hear Karl saying "a lot more."

Indications are Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin's preseason debut is being targeted for Tuesday. But before any decision is made, the Nuggets want to see how Martin, recovering from microfracture knee surgery, looks today in practice.

While Nene (calf strain) won't play Tuesday or Wednesday, Karl is hoping to get Eduardo Najera (back strain) back for at least one game. Najera said one factor is how he feels after today's practice.

Chris Tomasson

Pistons 109, Nuggets 106

DENVER (2-1) - Augmon 2-4 0-0 4, Kleiza 4-6 1-1 9, Camby 3-9 4-4 10, Diawara 2-7 1-2 6, Atkins 0-3 2-2 2, Smith 4-14 5-8 13, Roberson 9-16 0-0 22, Wafer 7-14 2-2 16, S.Hunter 2-2 3-4 7, B.Jones 7-11 1-2 17. Totals 40-86 19-25 106.

DETROIT (2-2) - Prince 8-13 2-2 19, McDyess 1-5 0-0 2, Wallace 2-10 0-0 5, Hamilton 0-0 1-1 1, Billups 5-11 4-5 16, Murray 1-6 4-4 6, Hayes 6-14 8-8 24, Maxiell 5-9 6-8 16, Stuckey 1-5 3-4 5, L.Hunter 3-5 0-0 7, Afflalo 2-5 3-3 8. Totals 34-83 31-35 109.

Denver......20 34 25 27 - 106
Detroit......29 34 16 30 - 109

Three-point attempts - Denver 7-25 (Roberson 4-8, B.Jones 2-3, Diawara 1-5, Kleiza 0-1, Atkins 0-1, Wafer 0-3, Smith 0-4), Detroit 10-26 (Hayes 4-6, Billups 2-5, L.Hunter 1-2, Prince 1-3, Afflalo 1-3, Wallace 1-6, Murray 0-1). Fouled out - Smith. Rebounds - Denver 48 (Camby 16), Detroit 57 (Maxiell 11).Assists - Denver 19 (B.Jones, Roberson 4), Detroit 25 (Hamilton 5). Total Fouls-Denver 22, Detroit 22. Technicals - Denver Defensive Three Second 3. A - 16,182. (22,076).

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