Pistons at Spurs Game Preview - Mar. 9, 2011
Coming off their first home loss in more than three months, the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs believe they have some room for improvement - a likely scary thought for the rest of the league.
The Spurs will try to sweep the season series against the Detroit Pistons for the first time in four years Wednesday night.
San Antonio (51-12) has used a 29-3 home record to help build a five-game lead over Dallas in the Western Conference.
After falling 103-94 to the Mavericks at the AT&T Center on Nov. 26, the Spurs limited opponents to 92.6 points and outscored them by 12.2 over a franchise-record 22-game home winning streak - including a 125-95 rout of Miami on Friday night
That run, though, came to an end with a 99-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
"It was a disappointing game, but the good news is that our team knows that," coach Gregg Popovich said. "I know that, the players know that, they're grown, full of character, lots of experience, nobody has to say a word to them. They know.
"We'll do our very best to get back on track. Learn from both the Miami game and from the LA game, and try to get better."
Tim Duncan was held to two points and 1-of-7 shooting for the second time this season against the Lakers.
"Tim takes everything personal when he has a bad game," forward Antonio McDyess said. "He comes in early to work hard, so I look forward to him having a big game against Detroit because he always feels like he let the team down, not only himself.
"So he's gonna come in a little bit more focused and play a little bit harder."
While Duncan is averaging a career-low 13.2 points, he earned high praise from Detroit rookie center Greg Monroe.
"He's one of the guys I watched growing up - one of the best power forwards to ever play and probably the best while I was growing up," Monroe told the Pistons' official website. "A lot of players learn from what they see. ... I definitely watched him and tried to learn."
Duncan had 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Monroe scored 14 and grabbed 13 boards in San Antonio's 100-89 road win Feb. 8.
Monroe is averaging 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 59.1 percent over his last eight games.
He had 12 points and seven boards Sunday night, and was one of seven players to score in double figures for Detroit (23-41) in a 113-102 win over Washington.
Tayshaun Prince returned from a four-game absence due to back problems to register 20 points while Rodney Stuckey had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Stuckey, scoring 13.5 points per game over his career, is averaging 8.7 against San Antonio - his lowest versus any opponent.
Detroit ranks 29th in the league with an average of 90.0 points on the road.
The Spurs last swept the Pistons in 2006-07, when they won the most recent of their four NBA championships. That came two years after San Antonio defeated Detroit 4-3 in the NBA finals.
San Antonio has taken three of four regular-season meetings in the series after losing three in a row.