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San Antonio at Detroit, Final Score: Spurs clobber Pistons, 109-99

Spurs reserves lose all but 10 points of a 22 point lead in the last 3:15 to make a blowout look respectable; this game was not respectable.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough loss in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, the San Antonio Spurs came right back and throttled the Detroit Pistons on a SEGABABA with a level of determination that’s been recently absent. They used a hot shooting night and outscored the opponent by 20 points in the second and third quarters to put the game away and give the starters some rest.

Six Spurs scored in double digits, led by 19 points from Dejounte Murray and a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double from Jakob Poeltl. Josh Jackson and Jerami Grant led the Pistons with a combined 29 points.


1st quarter

As the team gets off to one slow start after another, weird ideas start to occur to me: like, you know what would solve San Antonio’s problems? If they tried warming up before the game! Look, I know the team warms up, but sometimes it just looks like they haven’t. Jakob Poeltl missed an early floater so bad that it made me wonder whether he’d held a basketball in his hands since leaving the AT&T Center after Monday’s loss.

I am so looking forward to when Derrick White once again gets the benefit of the doubt in the charge/foul call. I know that it’s the toughest foul to ref in basketball and is largely a function of your perspective and motion. I get all that. White has had a couple go against him over the last couple of games and I’m ready for the league’s officials to go back to recognizing that he’s not a flopper and start rewarding his hard work the way they were back in the bubble.

Poeltl makes the defense so good. He bothers so many shots. I know watching Timmy anchor the defense for so long spoiled me for anything less than — it’s just that I love having a high-quality defender at the five. Thanks for being awesome, JP.

The Detroit arena’s simulated crowd is pretty weird. Whoever’s controlling it had a quick trigger-finger on the “Aww...” button. But their soundboard also has some cool “Woah!” options too — there was one on a big dunk by Eubanks that nearly sounded legit and was kind of cool to listen to.

I’d like to know where San Antonio stands in the league rankings for fouls drawn committed by their big men while setting picks. Seems like there’s “a book” on the team and that all the zebras know to watch for something specific that San Antonio’s doing different from everybody else that they need to be disciplined for. I just wish I could see what it is so that it wouldn’t bother me when I see opposing bigs set picks with impunity while manhandling Spurs guards and wings trying to follow their men around what appear to me to be moving screens.

2nd quarter

Devin Vassell’s jumper is silky smooth. It’s as smooth as a baby’s bottom. It’s as soft as the down a mother duck lines her nest with before laying her eggs. It’s as pure as snow before it’s even fallen. It’s ... it’s ... I’ll just end this by saying that I like to watch him shoot and hope that’s sufficient.

Murray’s finishing at the rim isn’t just good, it’s great. After watching him drive to such frequent futility over the first years of his career, I would have been happy with average. He didn’t just correct a weakness. He didn’t just turn a negative into a positive. The man went beyond and is getting to the point of becoming elite at something that he used to trail the league in. That’s crazy impressive. He had a few finishes against Detroit that looked almost like prayers leaving his hands, and they banked right off the rim and straight through the net. Color me impressed and convinced.

When I was growing up, my cousins had a dog named Gretchen. It was the only living creature I’d ever encountered or heard of by that name. That continued until I was in high school to the point that I thought it was the female equivalent of Fido — the kind of name that people only name dogs. So imagine my surprise when I met a classmate my junior year in high school named Gretchen. At the same moment I was practically leaping out of my skin from shock, some mature part of my brain restrained me from making a fool of myself by figuring out just in time the error in judgment I’d made due to my inexperience: people can be named Gretchen too. Well, I felt much the same hearing Rodney McGruder’s name tonight. I couldn’t think of anything but MacGruber!

3rd quarter

Derrick White had a coast to coast — as the last man up the floor. While playing defense, he grabbed a rebound that took him toward the baseline. He turned as everyone else was already hustling back the other way, dribbled down the court, got into the paint and negotiated his way through the defense and all the way to the rim. It’s much fun to watch him process opportunities in real time.

Poeltl blocked a turnaround by Mason Plumlee. Kind of impressive. (Drew Eubanks had a pair of monster blocks too. Good going, guy.)

The Spurs were threatening to turn it into a third straight blowout (only one of which they were on the wrong end of), making me wonder whether they’ll ever play another competitive game again. After all of the close games they played earlier in the season, it’s a bit of a novelty.

Sometimes there’s a single kind of call that it seems like a referee crew just refuses to call. Monday night it was the charge, which meant that every time there was contact between the ball handler and a defender, it was being called as a blocking foul. Even with White standing in the vicinity of a Grant drive and falling OUT of the way, he was called for a block for his fourth foul. And then this happened:

The only contact Derrick makes here is to take an elbow to his collar bone, and the foul is on him. Son, I am disappoint.

Vassell running the break on the wing getting dunks is fun to watch.

Some guys have sky-high confidence as clock ticks down. DJ made yet another three at the end of a quarter/game. That’s at least three now. (There was the game winner with the 24-second clock counting down. The game-tying buzzer-beater to send it to overtime. And then tonight’s. Has anyone counted to see if it’s more than that?

4th quarter

I’m so upset that the bench went scoreless and defenseless over the last 3:15 to make the game a 10 point win instead of something more representative of how big they were up this game that I’m making no further comment of the final frame. Blech.

Bonus Tweets

For the Pistons fans’ perspective, visit Detroit Bad Boys.

The Spurs continue their East Coast trip in Chicago on Wednesday. Tipoff will be at 7:00 PM CT on FSSW.