San Antonio 104, Detroit 80

SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 20 (AP) -- Tony Parker and Tim Duncan one night. Manu Ginobili and Michael Finley another.

Call it the San Antonio Spurs' preseason puzzle.

One night, they bring out a few pieces, another night they swap them out as they ramp up for the regular season.

Parker made his preseason debut Saturday and Duncan joined him on the court after sitting out the last game as the Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons 104-80.

"Manu gets to take a break, Bruce (Bowen) gets to take a break again,'' said assistant coach Mike Budenholzer, who took the reins from coach Gregg Popovich for the second game in a row. "So we're just mixing and matching and trying to keep guys healthy and keep working on stuff we're doing in practice.''

Brent Barry scored 16 points for the Spurs. Francisco Elson had 14 points and Duncan added 13. Parker finished with seven.

Rookie Arron Afflalo led Detroit with 20 points. Rodney Stuckey scored 14 and Jason Maxiell added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

But with both teams sitting a few of their stars, the preseason meeting between the reigning champion Spurs and former champion Pistons was a bit anticlimactic. For the Spurs, Ginobili, Bowen and Finley took the night off.

Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups didn't play the second game of the Pistons' back-to-back, and an injured Richard Hamilton was out for a third straight contest with a sprained left ankle. The Pistons lost to Dallas 122-94 Friday.

"I think we had a lot of energy. A lot of effort,'' Afflalo said. "Better than we had yesterday. Just unfortunate that we didn't make a lot of shots tonight.''

The absences let lesser-knowns and role players on each team step up. Rookie guard Afflalo had 13 points at the half for Detroit. Barry had 10 points for the Spurs.

"We're basically playing four rookies,'' said Detroit coach Flip Saunders. "Four rookies that are playing a lot for me and they're in a back-to-back situation, so it's an adjustment.''

Elson, still sporting a face mask following an injury to his left eye this summer, led the Spurs with 14 points at the half.

The Spurs were up 28-25 after one quarter and 55-46 at halftime. They had the lead for good after they went up 3-2 less than a minute into the game.

San Antonio opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run to go up 67-46 with 8:31 left in the period. Barry's 3-pointer put the Spurs up 74-49 with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter.

"You have to understand, these are learning experiences,'' Saunders said. "I don't look at the score, I look at how a guy is playing in situations.''

The Spurs were up 84-67 heading into the final quarter and extended their lead to as many as 28 points.

Both teams sat their stars in the fourth: Duncan and Parker for the Spurs, Antonio McDyess and Tayshaun Prince for Detroit.

"I thought he looked good for his first game,'' Budenholzer said of Parker, who took training camp slow to rebuild his strength after playing for the French national team over the summer. "I think for a first outing he was great.''

Saunders was called for a technical foul with 4:45 left in the game.

"I just thought our young guys were going to the basket, were getting fouled and weren't getting calls,'' Saunders said. "So as a coach, you have to stick up for your players.''

The Spurs had three other players - summer addition Ime Udoka and training camp invitees Darius Washington and Keith Langford - score in the double digits.

Jarvis Hayes had 10 points for Detroit.


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