SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Spurs fought through another injury and the second game of a back-to-back to beat the Detroit Pistons and earn some rare praise from coach Gregg Popovich.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 10 rebounds and San Antonio rallied to beat Detroit 96-93 on Monday night.
“I thought the guys in a tough back-to-back did a heck of a job to hang in there, keep playing and trusting each other,” Popovich said. “We made some great plays down the stretch from a lot of people. A lot of people participated. It was a good, physical game. I’m just really pleased with their effort. I thought they did a wonderful job.”
Reggie Jackson had 27 points for Detroit, which led by as many as nine points before dropping its third straight. Jackson was held to seven points in the second half on 3-for-10 shooting as San Antonio clamped down defensively to win after falling to Oklahoma City on Sunday.
The Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Anderson, who has started in place of Leonard all season. Anderson will miss two to three weeks after spraining his left knee against the Thunder.
Rudy Gay, making his first start in place of Anderson, had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. His final points came on a three-point play that gave San Antonio an 88-86 lead with 3:39 remaining.
Detroit trailed 94-93 when Gay failed to hit the rim on a 3-point attempt as the shot clock expired with 5.2 seconds remaining, but the Pistons’ Tobias Harris committed a foul prior to the violation. Aldridge made two free throws to give the Spurs a 96-93 lead.
Gay blocked Harris’ 3-point attempt at the buzzer to preserve the victory.
“It’s great, just having another guy who can create,” Spurs veteran Tony Parker said. “He had some very nice passing off the pick-and-roll. He knows how to play.”
Pau Gasol added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who had seven players score in double figures and had three with double-doubles.
San Antonio had 30 assists and a 51-42 edge in rebounding to win for the fifth time in six games.
“It was tough,” said Spurs guard Danny Green, who had 11 points and three blocked shots. “They are a very good team. They’ve been playing good basketball in the East and they are one of top teams in the East. They’ve been playing well against everybody.”
Andre Drummond finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds for his 17th double-double in Detroit’s 23 games this season.
Jackson had 20 points in the first half and Detroit shot 48 percent against the league’s second-best defense statistically through two quarters. The Spurs held the Pistons to 33 percent shooting in the second half, including 7 for 20 in the fourth.
“I think we go a little too much just one-on-one isolation,” Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy. “We’ve got to be able to sustain our offensive energy better. I probably overplayed guys tonight, but our bench just struggled, I mean they just struggled.”
Pistons: Drummond averaged 16 points and 16 rebounds against San Antonio last season. … Detroit is 6-2 against Western Conference teams. . Van Gundy has 498 career wins. . Jon Leuer missed the game with a sprained left ankle. . The Pistons have lost six straight to the Spurs.
Spurs: San Antonio had three players with double-doubles for the first time since 2014 when Leonard, Green and Tim Duncan did so against Brooklyn. . The Spurs are 36-0 since 2015 when they have 29-plus assists. . San Antonio is 4-0 when Parker plays. . Reserve forward Joffrey Lauvergne missed the game with an injured right middle finger. . Patty Mills joined Manu Ginobili and Matt Bonner as the only reserves in franchise history to make 500 3-pointers.
LEONARD RETURNING ‘SOON’
Leonard said prior to the game he is feeling healthy and will return “soon” from a quadriceps injury that has kept him out all season, but he does not have a target date for his debut.
Green had a critical block against Drummond with 3:19 remaining that led to a reverse layup by Ginobili for a 90-86 lead.
“It was pure luck,” Green said. “I mean, if he knew I was coming, I’m sure he probably would have dunked the ball but I don’t think he saw me weakside. When you’re a guard, you can sneak up on bigs sometimes and I got lucky.”
Pistons: Visit Milwaukee on Wednesday night in their third game against the Bucks this season.
Spurs: Host Miami on Wednesday night in the second of a three-game homestand.