SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 3 (Ticker) --
The Detroit Pistons gave the San
Antonio Spurs something they had not had in more than a week - a
The Pistons fought back from a 21-point third-quarter deficit
but came up short in an 80-77 loss to the Spurs, who rode big
games from guards Tony Parker
and Manu Ginobili
to their sixth
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"Lots of things we could have done better, but we still come
away with a win," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
had 18 points and 18 rebounds for the Spurs, who
spoiled the return of Ben Wallace
and won the anticipated
showdown of the last two NBA champions.
For the fourth time during its streak, San Antonio never
trailed. But unlike the first five games - which they won by an
average of 22.4 points - the Spurs could not run away from the
The Pistons trailed, 63-42, before scoring the last six points
of the third quarter. Chauncey Billups
- thoroughly outplayed
by Parker to that point - scored all 18 of his points in the
final period, including a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to
78-77 with 7.9 seconds to go.
"Guys like Chauncey got hot in the fourth quarter, made shots,
and at one point we couldn't even make our free throws,"
"We could not find a good rhythm at that point," Parker said.
was fouled and made two free throws with 4.9 seconds
left before Malik Rose
stole an inbounds pass to seal the win
for the Spurs, who played very protective basketball in the
"We made a lot of bad decisions," Popovich said. "We weren't
smart in the fourth quarter. We had some fouls, took some not
so great shots and made not great passes. We forced a lot of
things. We played hard and played good defense, but on the
offensive end were not very good.
"To beat this team, coming back from so far down, on their home
court would have been huge, but they are well-coached," Pistons
coach Larry Brown said.
Parker scored 20 points and Ginobili added 18. The duo combined
for 14 points in the first quarter, when the Spurs opened a
double-digit lead and got Billups into foul trouble.
"We are playing solid early, being focused coming out, bringing
energy," Parker said. Wallace, a two-time Defensive Player of
the Year, returned from a six-game suspension for his role in
the ugly brawl against the Pacers two weeks ago. He scored five
points on 2-of-9 shooting and added nine rebounds and two
"It felt good to be back out there. It would have felt better
to pick up the win," he said. "I just need to slow down a
little bit. Right now my hands are going a little quicker than
A 3-pointer by Duncan beat the buzzer and gave the Spurs a 46-37
halftime lead. In the third quarter, San Antonio held Detroit
scoreless the first 6 1/2 minutes and without a hoop for the
first 7 1/2 minutes, building a 63-42 advantage.
"It would have been easy to give up and pack it in, but we
battled back," Wallace said. "We really dug a hole spotting
them 21 points, but everybody played hard and brought us back
Rose had 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who limited the Pistons to
35 percent (27-of-76) shooting and held a 49-40 advantage on the
glass but almost undid all their good work with 23 turnovers.
"I feel bad for a team that plays that well defensively, but
still does not value the ball at the other end," Popovich said.