The Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs are perennial NBA title contenders,
but only one has played like it in the last few games.

The Pistons try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they host the Spurs in the final contest for both teams before the All-Star break.

Detroit (32-18) is holding opponents to 85.6 points per game during its current run of seven consecutive wins. On Monday, the Eastern Conference-leading Pistons allowed their lowest opponent field goal percentage of the season, holding the Los Angeles Clippers to 32.4 percent shooting en route to a 92-74 victory.

With a victory over the Spurs, the Pistons can equal their eight-game winning streak from Nov. 17-Dec. 1.

Detroit's 92.8 points allowed per game rank third in the NBA, trailing only San Antonio (91.2) and Houston (90.5).

The Spurs (34-18) hadn't shown that stifling defense recently, giving up 100 or more points in three of their previous four games, but had an improved performance in Tuesday's 107-82 win over the New Jersey Nets.

They held New Jersey to 39.0 percent shooting while hitting 53.4 percent of their own shots. San Antonio won for just the second time in its last six contests and avoided tying its season-high three-game losing streak.

The Spurs need to beat Detroit to conclude their season-long eight-game road trip with a 4-4 record.

"We're trying to get better as a team,'' said Spurs leading scorer Tim Duncan, who recorded 21 points and eight rebounds. "Consistency hasn't been there. As fun as it was, that's the way we need to play all the time.''

Tony Parker (19), Michael Finley (15) and Manu Ginobili (14) also scored in double figures Tuesday for the Spurs, who made a trade earlier in the day. San Antonio acquired 6-foot-10 Melvin Ely from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Eric Williams and a second-round draft pick in 2009.

Ely averaged 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in 24 games for Charlotte this season.

The Pistons won both meetings with San Antonio last season, and held the Spurs to their fewest points of 2005-06 in an 83-68 victory on Jan. 12, 2006.

Detroit may have swept that season series, but San Antonio beat the Pistons in seven games to win the 2005 NBA title. Duncan had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the clincher.

"We know they've been on a long trip, but that really doesn't mean anything once the ball is thrown up," Pistons leading-scorer Richard Hamilton told his team's official Web site."You've got to come out and be ready to play."

Detroit is enjoying success with the recent acquisition of Chris Webber, improving to 11-2 with him in the starting lineup. Webber had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead five starters scoring in double figures Monday.

Hamilton, who added 15 points, is averaging 14.3 points in 12 career games versus the Spurs - his second-lowest mark against any opponent.

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