Pistons down Parker-less Spurs at home
The Detroit Pistons found themselves in a unique situation Sunday
— trailing before the start of overtime.
Thanks to a technical foul called on Richard Hamilton after
regulation ended, Detroit trailed San Antonio 94-93 when the ball
was tossed up to start the extra period.
It didn’t matter, though, as Detroit dominated the extra
session and in a 109-101 victory.
“This game could have very easily slipped away, but we stayed
focused,” Detroit coach John Kuester said. “We could have very
easily hung our heads when some things didn’t go the way we wanted,
but we kept our poise.”
The Pistons appeared to have the game won when they led by 11
points with five minutes left, but San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich
instructed his team to intentionally foul Ben Wallace on five
Wallace missed six of the 10 free throws before being taken
out of the game — flinging his headband in disgust — and the
Spurs were able to narrow the gap.
Popovich was testy after the game when asked if it had been
an easy decision to start fouling Wallace, a 44 percent shooter
from the line.
“Not really,” he snapped after asking the question to be
Kuester said he stayed with Wallace as long as he could.
“I have a lot of confidence in Ben,” he said. “Most of the
time, we’ll keep him on the floor in that situation. The way he’s
playing this year, we’re going to win or lose with him.”
Wallace’s misses let Manu Ginobili take over, and he scored
11 points in the final 2:20 of the fourth quarter, including a
layup with 27.5 seconds left that forced overtime.
Ginobili then hit the free throw after Hamilton was called
for the technical and thought the Spurs were back in control.
“With two minutes left, we didn’t think we had a chance, and
then we got it to overtime,” he said. “We got the free throw, and
then we won the tip, and then everything started going wrong.”
Detroit went on an 8-2 run once the extra period started, and
cruised to the win. Hamilton finished with 27 points and Rodney
Stuckey scored 20.
“We almost gave the game away making stupid mistakes, but we
stayed aggressive,” Stuckey said. “This is a big win for us. We’re
fighting for our lives right now, and we need to keep coming back
Tim Duncan had 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, while
Ginobili scored 21.
“We battled our guts out, but we shot poorly and the Pistons
made big shots,” Popovich said. “You play games and sometimes
things like that happen.”
San Antonio played without Tony Parker, who sat out with a
left hip injury. Parker missed the Spurs’ last game before the
All-Star break with the same problem, but had played in two games
before aggravating the injury Thursday against Philadelphia.
The game also ended San Antonio’s annual Rodeo Road Trip. The
Spurs, who last played at home on Jan. 31, went 4-4 on the 19-day,
Antonio McDyess received a loud ovation from the Palace crowd
when he was introduced before the San Antonio starters prior to the
game. McDyess played the last five seasons for Detroit before
signing with San Antonio in the offseason.
“I didn’t expect a standing ovation. That was a very nice
moment for me,” McDyess said. “I was hoping no one was looking at
my face, because I was getting quite emotional. I played some great
basketball here, and my heart still belongs to these fans.”
Notes: There were several unusually hard
collisions in the game. Ginobili ran into a screen by Wallace and
George Hill accidentally elbowed Jonas Jerebko in the side of the
face. … Duncan hit his first regular-season 3-pointer since March
28, 2007 in the last moments of overtime.