Spurs-Pistons Preview

With the exception of their last stop, the San Antonio Spurs

have played well on their longest road stretch of the season.

The Spurs look to conclude that stretch on a positive note with

a third consecutive victory over the lowly Detroit Pistons on

Sunday night.

Trying for a third straight win overall, San Antonio (31-22)

fell short of that feat, losing 106-94 at Philadelphia on

Friday.

Despite the defeat, the Spurs are 4-3 on their eight-game road

swing that has kept them away from home so far in February. San

Antonio, 12-12 on the road this season, hosts Oklahoma City on

Wednesday.

Before that, however, the Spurs look to hand Detroit (19-35) a

third straight loss. San Antonio, which has won two of its last

three trips to The Palace of Auburn Hills, beat the Pistons 112-92

at home Jan. 6.

Tony Parker had 23 points with six assists in that contest for

the Spurs, but was held to two points on 1 of 9 shooting against

the 76ers. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich believes Parker, who had 28

points in Wednesday’s win at Indiana, is still bothered by foot,

ankle and hip injures that contributed to him missing four of the

last nine games.

“He’s got some problems,” said Popovich, whose team was

outscored 33-18 in the fourth quarter Friday.

Parker’s teammate Tim Duncan is healthy, but has combined for 18

points in his last two contests. Duncan, though, is averaging 19.8

points and 11.7 rebounds in his last four road games against the

Pistons. He had 18 with 18 boards in the Spurs’ 83-79 win in their

last visit to Detroit on Feb. 19, 2009.

While Parker and Duncan look to get back on track, Manu Ginobili

has played well for the Spurs of late. He had 24 points Friday and

is averaging 19.5 on 27 of 54 shooting in his last four contests.

Ginobili scored 16 points against Detroit earlier this season.

The Pistons look to bounce back from a 91-85 home loss to

Milwaukee on Friday. Detroit has lost seven of nine at home and

likely won’t have an easy time improving on that stretch against

the Spurs. The Pistons have been held to 81.3 points on 40.7

percent shooting in their last three meetings with San Antonio at

The Palace.

Richard Hamilton scored 29 points Friday, but the Pistons went 1

of 6 from 3-point range despite shooting 48.5 percent from the

field against the Bucks.

“If it presents itself, that’s fine,” coach John Kuester told

the Pistons’ official Web site after his team’s gone 4 of 15 from

beyond the arc in the last two games. “We’re not hunting the

threes. That’s not an issue. What we’re trying to do is get good

shots and execute. I think that’s the important thing.”

Hamilton, who scored a season-high 36 points in a loss at

Orlando on Wednesday, had 29 in last month’s loss to the Spurs.