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San Antonio at Detroit, Final Score: The Spurs lose a thriller in double OT to the Pistons 138-131

Spurs can’t quite pull out a win in the Motor City in a two overtimes

San Antonio Spurs v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Something unexpected happened tonight, in a contest between two teams with some of the worst records in the league, a thrilling double overtime contest erupted that was in doubt for 58 minutes. The Spurs got a great game from new addition Devonte’ Graham with 31 points in his Silver and Black debut, and Malaki Branham continues to develop as an offensive threat with a career high 27. Zach Collins had his best game of the his career tonight with 29 points, but when he fouled out at the end of the first overtime, the Pistons were able to take advantage of the lack of depth of the Spurs, with a rested Isaiah Stewart coming in late in the second overtime and making key plays. The Pistons’ solid interior game was led by Jalen Duren, who used his superior strength to dominate the paint for Detroit. The Spurs had no answers for Bojan Bogdanovic, inexplicably still on the Pistons after the trade deadline, as the team from the Motor City eked out the win to move ahead of the Spurs into 28th place in the league, as the Spurs sank to 29th, just ahead of the languishing Rockets.

Game Flow

Malaki Branham started off hot for the Silver and Black, scoring pretty much at will against the porous Pistons, who allowed more blowby than a worn out Pinto four banger. Devonte’ Graham entered the game late in the quarter and didn’t disappoint, as he quickly scored on a long range triple. Stanley Johnson hurt his old team with a couple of steals, and the Spurs led 28-19 after one quarter. It’s hard to tell whether the 19 points from the Pistons were due to offensive ineptitude or good defense, but since the Spurs are the worst defenders in the league, let’s just say that the Pistons’ offense stunk.

The energy of the Spurs bench group took over in the second quarter as they shook off an early triple from Isaiah Livers with crisp passing and offensive moves from Doug McDermott to extend the lead to double digits. The cold shooting of the Pistons began to thaw a bit as they started to hit outside shots, but the were tough in the paint with Duren and they fought back, with the key play being a ridiculous scrum where Livers came out of the pack and hit a pullup three to cut the Spurs lead to two. The Spurs barely held on with a Collins layup with 1.5 seconds left to lead 54-53 at the half.

Bojan Bogdanovic was the designated scorer early in the third for the Pistons, and when the Spurs went into their dark place (you know, a stretch where they can’t hit anything or even hold onto the ball), and in a flash, the Pistons were up by 8. The Spurs fought back with Branham and newcomer Graham carrying the load for the Silver and Black, but mistakes and turnovers gave extra opportunities to Detroit as they led 91-83 after three on a 38 point quarter.

Malaki Branham led the Spurs to a strong start in the fourth with 5 quick points as the Spur cut the Piston leads to just three points. The Piston starters returned to finish out the game, and Bogdanovic burned the porous Spurs defense to propel Detroit to a 100-92 lead with seven and a half minutes left. The Spurs fought back despite a terrible possession where they gave the Pistons five shots at the basket, tying it up at 107 on a clutch Graham triple. The Spur briefly took the lead but the teams went back and forth, and a clutch defensive possession as time ran out saved the game for the Spurs as it went to overtime at 113 each.

The overtime started on a scrappy note as Jalen Ivey and Stanley Johson tried to retrieve the tip and Ivey was called for a foul. The Spurs got to the line in overtime, as the tired Pistons were caught reaching. Still, the Spurs couldn’t create any distance between them and Detroit, and a 24 second violation with 47 seconds left gave the Pistons a shot . Jaden Ivey drew a foul and cut the lead to just one point with 34 seconds left. No worries for the Silver and Black, as a clutch three point shot from Devonte’ Graham put the Spurs up by 4 with 18 left. The Pistons wasted no time, getting back 2 of them with a Bogdanovic shot with a toe on the line. A botched inbounds from the Spurs gave Bojan another chance to tie it up, and he did at 125 with 13 seconds left. The Spurs final possession was not good, but they took the last shot, and the game went to a second overtime.

With Collins out, the Spurs had to depend on Gorgui Dieng as their main paint defender. A really poorly timed goaltending from Gorgui allowed the Pistons to keep it close, and a 9-0 surge capped by a pair of foul shots from Bojan had Detroit up by 5 with 13 seconds left. The Spurs couldn’t close the gap and lost 128-121.


  • This one goes to 11 ... losses, that is. [Nigel Tufnel on the Spurs current streak.]
  • Each year, the 30 teams get one second round pick, so 30 total. Yesterday, 37 second round picks were traded away. This is the definition of unsustainable. Second round picks are currently the cryptocurrency of the NBA.
  • I can find no more apt indicator of how bare the cupboard was for the Spurs than the fact that Isaiah Roby was in the starting lineup.
  • Blake Wesley is really adept at getting by the initial defender with no plan about what to do after that, often leading to a turnover or blocked shot. Once he learns how to pick his spots and starts to drive with a plan, he will become a much better threat on offense.
  • I think when Gorgui Dieng enters the game, they ought to say “It’s about Dieng Time!”
  • I can’t believe Bojan Bogdanovic is still on the Pistons. Of all the players I thought would be traded at the deadline, I thought he was near the top of the list.
  • With Poeltl gone, the starting center job belongs to Zach Collins now, and he was demonstrating his post-up game tonight. He’s really good with his back to the basket, which isn’t what I expected to see from him when he joined the Spurs a few years ago.
  • Jalen Duren is very rugged. Nobody on the Spurs really could bang with him, as he physically dominated the Silver and Black bigs.
  • Stanley Johnson never stops hustling, I really like how hard he plays.
  • The last game I recapped also went into overtime. This one went into double OT. I’m not sure if I can make it if this trend continues.

For the Pistons fans’ perspective, please visit Detroit Bad Boys. After tonight, the Spurs are headed to Atlanta to face the two-headed monster of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray of the Hawks. Given how poor the Spurs have been at defending three-point shots this year, it could be another tough game for the Silver and Black.