Pistons get in deep fix, fall to Spurs as win streak ends at 3
In their recent string of wins, the Pistons have made a habit of digging out of holes. This time, they got in too deep and couldn’t dig out fast enough.
After some long shooting droughts and some uneven defense by the starting group, the Pistons fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 105-93, on Wednesday night at AT&T Center. The loss ends the Pistons’ three-game win streak and a strong of eight wins in their last 10 games.
Reggie Jackson had 22 points, Blake Griffin added 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Andre Drummond 10 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons (29-31), who play next on Saturday at Cleveland.
The Spurs (34-29) improved to 23-7 at home behind 24 points from LaMarcus Aldridge. DeMar DeRozan added 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Marco Belinelli 17 points and five rebounds.
The Spurs hit 53 percent (9-of-17) from beyond the arc, with Patty Mills (11 points) and Belinelli hitting three each from beyond the arc.
The Pistons were within 84-81 at the 8:31 mark after Ish Smith’s 3-pointer, but Aldridge answered with a basket. Langston Galloway (11 points) added a 3-pointer and the lead was down to two but the Spurs responded with a basket by Derrick White.
The Pistons stayed close, with Smith’s lay-in keeping a 90-88 deficit but DeRozan scored on a three-point play and White got a lay-in from White, off a pass from DeRozan. That jump-started a 9-0 run that kept the Pistons reeling.
Jackson hit a 3-pointer and Wayne Ellington added a basket but the Pistons didn’t get any closer in the final minutes.
► Both teams got going early with the Pistons hitting 4-of-5 on 3-pointers early and the Spurs converting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. The Pistons have shot well from 3 this month, ranking seventh in the league and it’s provided balance to their inside game with Griffin and Drummond. The surges by Jackson and Griffin in their 3-point shooting, along with Langston Galloway and Luke Kennard off the bench have been one of the biggest keys to their recent surge in the last 10 games.
► The Pistons had slow starts to the second and third quarters, which helped dig big holes for them. In the third, they started 1-of-14 from the field and mustered just four points in the first few minutes. They were able to follow in that period with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 43-41 and get within striking distance.
► Galloway’s 3-point shooting was big again in the Pistons’ comeback effort. He hit three in his second-half stint after not getting one at all in the first half — similar to his effort against Miami — and helped with their surge. He scored in double figures for the third straight game, the first time he’s accomplished that feat since mid-November. When he’s chipping in off the bench to that level, it takes a big burden off the starters.
► Coach Dwane Casey went back with his starters, Wayne Ellingon (11 points) and Jackson in the final stretch of the fourth quarter, with the game very much within reach, though the reserves, Ish Smith and Galloway, were hot, having spurred the comeback. It’s not an unusual decision to return with the starters but with the hot hands at the time, one could understand why Casey may have considered leaving the reserves in for a bit longer.
► Spurs guard Bryn Forbes (Michigan State) played just six minutes and left the game because of an ankle injury. It was deemed a bruise and he did not return to the game in the second half. The Spurs did fine with Belinelli picking up the slack.