for this game

Iverson-less Pistons to face Billups, Nuggets

Mar 3, 2009 - 11:45 AM Denver (39-21) at Detroit (29-29) 7:30 p.m. EST

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups will make his return trip to the Palace of Auburn Hills, where the Denver Nuggets visit the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. The man he was traded for, however, will not be on the court.

Billups was named the MVP of the 2004 NBA Finals when he helped lead the Pistons to the championship over the Los Angeles Lakers.

But despite annual trips to the Eastern Conference finals, Detroit decided to shake things up in November, sending Billups to the Nuggets along with Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb for perennial All-Star Iverson, whose contract expires at the end of this season.

Billups has done wonders for Denver, guiding the team to first place in the Northwest Division.

He scored 27 points Sunday but the Nuggets fell, 100-94, to the Indiana Pacers to fall to 17-14 on the road against a 22-7 mark at home.

Denver will be without forward Carmelo Anthony, who was suspended one game by the team following an undisclosed in-game transgression against Indiana.

"There is a code of conduct that we take very seriously, especially from a leader and co-captain," Nuggets vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman said. "Carmelo knows this and regrets what happened. He is a very competitive person and made a poor decision in the heat of the moment. We look forward to having him back on Thursday and will have no further comment at this time."

The Pistons have not had the same success with Iverson, going 22-28 with him in the starting lineup. Detroit lost eight in a row before Iverson hurt his back.

Without Iverson, the Pistons have won two straight, beating Eastern Conference powers Orlando and Boston.

He will miss Tuesday's game as well and head to Georgetown on Wednesday for more tests to determine the severity of the injury.