San Antonio exacted revenge for their early month blowout loss in Detroit. The Spurs’ stars DeMar DeRozan (29 points and 8 assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge (25 points and 12 rebounds) uncorked vintage performances as the team rode their sublime effort and their teammates’ hot shooting. Detroit kept things close for a half with Andre Drummond’s 21 points and 18 rebounds and Derrick Rose’s 24 points off the bench, but succumbed to San Antonio’s offensive explosion. Detroit fell to 4-16 after a half-time deficit.
- The good news? Pistons’ reserve Christian Wood did not destroy the Spurs this time around.
- Beautiful basketball: A Patty Mills drive along the baseline with a dump-off pass to Derrick White, who served it up to Jakob Poeltl on a platter for a lay-up.
- Former Spur Malik Rose, who is now Assistant General Manager for Detroit, was interviewed late in the first half. Rose noted ”I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Coach Pop” after describing how positively his years in San Antonio affected his life and current work.
- A positive development to makeup for suspect perimeter defense: the Spurs notched seven blocks for the game.
- One of my fears is that this middling Pistons squad ends up being what the Spurs resemble in a few years — from an aging, still productive forward (Blake Griffin) to high salaried veterans not associated with title contention (Drummond and Reggie Jackson) to a handful of younger players whose progress may be impeded by decreased playing time and limited opportunities.
- The PtR staff discussed earlier today the Marco Belinelli playing time conundrum despite second year progress made by Lonnie Walker IV. I’m in the camp of “lost too much corporate knowledge in the coaching ranks.” Pop replied to San Antonio Express News’ Tom Orsborn’s question today about Walker IV’s playing time with: “I don’t involve those sorts of discussions with the media because we do what we think is best for the team.”
- Walker received playing time in the first half (with Belinelli noticeably absent). Gay found him from halfcourt for a balletic alley-oop jam in transition. Pistons analyst Johnny Kane exclaimed “I don’t know Lonnie Walker the first, second, or the third, but Lonnie Walker IV is athletic.” Walker IV added in a equally difficult tip-dunk off of a White miss early in the fourth and was compared favorably to another notable high-flyer - David Thompson.
- Most annoying background song when the Spurs are on offense: ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.” Most tolerable tune? The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah.”
- DeRozan followed Charlie O’Charles’ guidance by scoring 12 points from everywhere except behind the line, and even set up Aldridge for an open three to get the lead as high as ten. Drummond scored his team’s first seven points and nearly netted a double double in the first quarter alone, while his teammates started off cold. Detroit’s bench, led by Derrick Rose, attacked the rim relentlessly to close out the first quarter and took advantage of San Antonio’s sloppy ballhandling. San Antonio left the frame up only two. Wood and Walker IV exchanged baskets in the second stanza, but Griffin and Rose helped Detroit net the lead. DeRozan again found Aldridge on a drive-and-kick for a three. The Spurs regained the lead late in the period, and Aldridge closed out things with a corner-3 to give him 18 and put San Antonio up 59-55. Drummond and Rose accounted for over half of Detroit’s production.
- Pistons analyst Greg Kelser said, “Be aggressive. If you’re out there to shoot, shoot.” Bryn Forbes airballed a three coming out of the break, but made up for it with several encouraging makes. Pistons guard Tim Frazier briefly came alive for Detroit, but Dejounte Murray and DeRozan converted equally difficult and-1’s to push the Spurs lead to nine. San Antonio remained unselfish with the ball and found open shooters as part of a 24-4 run. DeRozan ended the scoring barrage with a Gervin-esque floater in the lane and the Spurs surpassed their output (101 to 98) from Thursday night in just three quarters.
- Walker IV (at the rim) and Murray and Mills (from distance) continued San Antonio’s onslaught to start the final period. However, Detroit forced the Spurs into foul trouble very early and made a run behind Rose’s singular attack. Pop called two timeouts in the span of a minute to help preserve his team’s focus and his players responded with a final push to earn a solid team win.
For the Pistons fan’s perspective, please go to Detroit Bad Boys.
The Spurs host Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors Tuesday evening at the special time of 6:00 PM CDT.