Tayshaun Prince hit a running jumper with 20 seconds left, Aaron Afflalo hit six straight free throws after that, and the Detroit Pistons overcame 30 points by Chauncey Billups to beat the Denver Nuggets 93-90 on Friday night in Allen Iverson's return to the Mile High city.
Iverson, making his first appearance in Denver since being traded to Detroit for Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb on Nov. 3, led the Pistons with 23 points - 20 in the second half.
Denver led 84-78 when the Pistons rallied. They got within one on two free throws by Afflalo with 2:53 left, and after Billups' layup, Iverson fed Jason Maxiell for a dunk with 1:48 left to cut the lead to 86-85.
The teams traded missed shots before Prince hit a running 10-footer with 20 seconds left to give Detroit its first lead of the game. On the ensuing possession, McDyess, who was bought out by the Nuggets after the trade, stripped J.R. Smith with 10.5 seconds left.
Smith had a chance to tie the game with three free throws with 5.5 seconds left, but he missed the first one before hitting the next two.
Iverson struggled with his shot for most of the game. He was 2-for-12 through the first three quarters but had 13 points on the strength of 8-for-9 shooting from the foul line.
He heated up in the final 12 minutes, shooting 4-for-6 and scoring 10 points. He attacked the Denver defense, drawing fouls and hitting layups to keep the Pistons close.
Iverson, who spent 1 1/2 seasons with Denver after the Nuggets acquired him from Philadelphia on Dec. 19, 2006, got a standing ovation from a sold-out Pepsi Center crowd during pregame introductions.
The Pistons shot 37 percent in the first half but stayed within range heading into the third quarter. Denver led by 13 after Billups hit three free throws early in the second half, but Detroit climbed back, getting within 59-56 with 3:14 left in the period.
Rodney Stuckey missed two foul shots that would have made it a one-point game.
The Nuggets stretched the lead to 67-61 entering the fourth.
Billups, who has led the Nuggets to a 22-9 record since the trade, was aggressive early against his former team. In the first period, Billups scored nine points on 4-for-6 shooting and had two assists as Denver grabbed a 25-17 lead.
He scored 12 points in the second quarter to give the Nuggets a 48-38 edge at the half.