Gameday Preview: Spurs vs. Pistons - 2/26/14
The San Antonio Spurs ended a mostly successful nine-game road stretch with a tired performance at Phoenix.
After a four-day layoff, they now ease into eight of 10 at home starting Wednesday night against the struggling Detroit Pistons.
The Spurs will be giving away Kawhi Leonard bobbleheads beforehand, but Leonard isn't a lock to be on the court. The starting forward has missed 14 games with a broken bone in his right hand, and though he's resumed full participation in practice, he'll be a game-time decision for the rested Spurs.
"A good combination," guard Manu Ginobili said. "Having time to rest, then a good practice, and being home is what we all like."
The Spurs (40-16) fell 106-85 to the Suns on Friday to complete their annual rodeo road trip with a 6-3 record, and they played the last four games without top scorer Tony Parker.
San Antonio had 18 turnovers and shot a season-low 34.9 percent, going a season-worst 2 of 21 from 3-point range.
"They made shots, we didn't, and we turned it over," coach Gregg Popovich said. "It wasn't bad. Our ninth road game in a row, they played hard and we couldn't stick it in the hole. It happens. It was a great trip. Six and three on that trip under the circumstances of all the guys out and back and forth, I thought they were great."
Danny Green led the Spurs with 15 points but reserve guard Patty Mills scored four on 2 of 14 from the field. Mills had averaged 21.0 points and 54.0 percent shooting in his previous seven, and he committed three turnovers Friday, the first time he topped two this season.
"The expectation is to make the right decision looking after the ball, not turning it over, getting the team in the sets, in the offense, taking charge as a leader, and I think that from the time I've been here I've definitely learned that from Tony," Mills said.
Parker will likely continue watching his backup against Detroit as he's nursing an extensive list of ailments.
Part of the Spurs' trek was a stop in Detroit on Feb. 10, a 109-100 loss that was Parker's most recent game. Marco Belinelli led San Antonio with 20 points while Brandon Jennings' 21 paced six Pistons in double figures.
Detroit (23-34) has dropped five of six since and heads to Texas for this game and a matchup with Houston after back-to-back home defeats. The latest was a 104-96 loss to Golden State on Monday.
"We took it to the finish line. We just didn't cross it," said interim coach John Loyer, whose team was held to 13 fourth-quarter points and fell to 2-5 since he took over for Maurice Cheeks. "You get to the last 2 or 3 minutes, that's what you are trying to get to in the NBA game. We have to get to the point where we can finish them."
Detroit fell to 4-17 against Western Conference opponents, and it has lost nine of its last 11 road games.
"I think our next couple road games are going to be tough against San Antonio and Houston," reserve Kyle Singler said. "Those are two very good teams so we're going to have to play well and continue our success on the road like we had in the beginning of the year. It's going to be tough but we can do it for sure."
The Spurs have won three straight at home against the Pistons.
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