Nuggets end 14-game Palace losing streak

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chauncey Billups helped the Detroit Pistons become an Eastern Conference power and win the 2004 NBA title by making a lot of big shots.

He beat his former team with a sweet stroke that looked familiar.

Billups made 3-pointers on three straight possessions late in the game and finished with 26 points, lifting the Denver Nuggets to a 109-100 win over the Pistons on Wednesday night.

"I love getting the ovations and showing the people what they've missed," Billups said. "I never wanted to leave here. Everyone knows that. I wanted to retire here."

Detroit dealt him two-plus years ago, hoping to speed the development of Rodney Stuckey while clearing salary-cap space for the future.

Stuckey hasn't turned into a dependable point guard and the millions spent in the summer of 2009 on free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva haven't paid off.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists -- shaking off trade talk for another day -- to help the Nuggets win for the seventh time in nine games.

Anthony, who is in the last year of his contract, was asked after the game if he would be open to signing a contract extension with the Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

"My options are open right now," Anthony said. "I really don't know what's going on right now and it's four, three weeks away from the [trade] deadline."

Anthony insisted he's not picky about where he ends up playing.

"No short list," he said. "No long list."

The Nuggets were without center Nene because of a strained right calf and Shelden Williams, who replaced him in the lineup, had 13 points. Arron Afflalo, another former Detroit player, scored 17 and Al Harrington added 10 points.

Denver didn't have Kenyon Martin, choosing to let him rest his left knee, and Chris Andersen, who is still recovering from surgery on his right knee.

But the Nuggets had enough to win on the road against Detroit for the first time since March 10, 1995.

"That was big for us," Nuggets guard J.R. Smith.

Detroit reserves Will Bynum and Gordon scored 19 and 15 points, respectively, while Tracy McGrady and rookie Greg Monroe each had 10 points.

Tayshaun Prince scored 10 for the Pistons, who scored the first nine points of the game but then lost the lead and struggled to take control against a banged-up team playing for the second straight night on the road.

Detroit pulled within one with a few minutes left. But Anthony converted a three-point play and Billups found his range from deep as Denver ended a 14-game losing streak in Auburn Hills.

Billups had lost his previous two games as a visitor at The Palace, where he's still adored by the fans and owner Karen Davidson, who shouted encouraging words at him in the final seconds.

"I love coming back here and feeling the love for all the blood and sweat I left in this building," Billups said. "It's fun because I'm home."

Billups, though, made it clear he's not happy with how Pistons coach John Kuester has benched Richard Hamilton without talking to him about the demotion.

"He's Pistons royalty," Billups said. "He's one of the greats, and his jersey is going up into those rafters, so he doesn't deserve to be disrespected like this."

Hamilton missed the game with the flu but likely wouldn't have played even if he was healthy because the Pistons have had some relative success -- winning five of seven -- since sitting him.

The Pistons might need Hamilton back on the court if Stuckey's injury is serious.

Stuckey left late in the first quarter with a bruised right shoulder after colliding with Anthony.

"I felt something pop," said Stuckey, adding he didn't think his shoulder was dislocated.

Game notes
The Pistons were valued at $360 million -- a 25 percent decline since last year -- in Forbes' annual evaluation of NBA teams. Platinum Equity chairman Tom Gores, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and The Postolos Group president George Postolos have expressed an interest in buying the team. ... Smith, who didn't play Tuesday against the Washington Wizards because he missed the shootaround, had eight points and made a spectacular dunk in the second half.