Spurs look to pick up pieces vs. last-place Pistons

NBA Basketball

Depth and fitness will be put to the test when the San Antonio Spurs host the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night with both teams playing the second game of a back-to-back.

The Spurs will look to pick up the pieces after a 107-87 home dismantling by Miami on Wednesday. San Antonio was up 53-51 at halftime after shooting 51.3 percent from the floor over the first two periods but never solved the Heat’s half-court, zone-press defense in the second half.

The Spurs shot just 28.9 percent after halftime and went more than six minutes of the fourth quarter without a field goal.

“Based on how we played and on how they stuck with their press, [Miami] deserved to win,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said after the loss. “It was a good effort through about 3 1/2 quarters; then they got hot on top of us playing poorly on the offensive end, and that was a bad combination. They ended up kicking our butts.”

The Spurs (28-29) had a two-game winning streak snapped and lost their fifth straight home game.

DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 15 points Wednesday while Derrick White had 13 and Dejounte Murray 11. Jakob Poeltl had five blocked shots.

The Pistons head to the Alamo City on the heels of a 127-117 loss in Dallas on Wednesday. Detroit (18-41) stayed within single digits until the final minutes despite playing shorthanded and with two of its starters in foul trouble.

Jerami Grant had 26 points to lead the Pistons. He was the team’s catalyst early, scoring 15 points in the first nine minutes. Foul trouble limited Grant to less than three minutes over the middle two quarters combined, and his absence was sorely felt by a Detroit team looking for offense against the potent Dallas attack.

“Jerami had it going; he was one guy who had it going when he was going to the hole,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “When he got in foul trouble, we had to take him out.”

Grant had missed five of Detroit’s previous seven games with a sore right knee and a left-quad contusion.

All five starters scored in double figures for Detroit in its loss Wednesday. Cory Joseph added 24 points, Mason Plumlee made all four of his shots from the floor and ended with 13 points and 16 rebounds, Josh Jackson scored 12, and Saddiq Bey hit for 11. Wayne Ellington had 11 off the bench.

The Pistons are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings after losing two of their past three games and five of their past seven.

Detroit played Wednesday without Killian Hayes (right hip injury), Rodney McGruder (right elbow sprain) and Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee soreness).

San Antonio defeated the host Pistons 109-99 on March 15 in the two teams’ first meeting of the season.

–Field Level Media

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