Pistons-Spurs Preview

BY foxsports • March 1, 2016

It's been a foregone conclusion that the San Antonio Spurs are going to the playoffs for the 19th consecutive season. They can make it official Thursday night.

After an outstanding road trip, the Spurs return home looking to clinch another postseason berth with a win over the surging Detroit Pistons.

San Antonio (50-9) is only behind Golden State for the league's best record, and the Warriors have already clinched a playoff spot. Now, the Spurs can join them. They're 22 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Utah, and both teams have 23 games remaining.

A 19th straight playoff appearance would tie San Antonio with Boston (1951-69) for the fourth-longest streak in NBA history. The Spurs have the second-longest active streak in American professional sports behind the NHL's Detroit Red Wings (24).

San Antonio has won 25 of its last 28 games, including five in a row while averaging 109.0 points.

The Spurs concluded their yearly "Rodeo Road Trip" with a seventh win in eight games Saturday, leading the entire way in a 104-94 victory over Houston.

"Our guys played well and stayed locked in the whole trip," said LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 26 points and 16 rebounds. "I think everybody was motivated to finish the trip off right."

Now they'll try to keep their perfect home record intact. The Spurs are 28-0 at home this season and have won 37 in a row on their own court, but lost their most recent matchup there against Detroit, 105-104 on Jan. 6, 2015.

A victory Wednesday would equal the third-longest such streak in NBA history, tying Boston's 38-game run over two seasons from 1985-86.

In an effort to boost its chances at another championship run, San Antonio signed veteran point guard Andre Miller on Monday after he was waived by Minnesota four days earlier.

Miller, who turns 40 later this month, is the oldest player in the NBA, so it's only fitting that he joins the league's oldest roster with an average age of 32 - a full two years older than the next team (Dallas).

He's expected to add depth to a team known for resting players ahead of the playoffs.

"He's gonna be terrible. That's why we brought him in. He's got no chance to fit in whatsoever. I can't believe we did that," coach Gregg Popovich deadpanned before turning serious.

"His basketball IQ is off the charts," he added. "What a pro, tough minded, disciplined and he'll pick up things very quickly. He's picked up already a lot. He'll be fine."

Kawhi Leonard has totaled 56 points on 18-of-28 shooting and 6 of 9 from 3-point range over the last two games, putting his recent calf injury behind him. The All-Star forward, however, has missed 16 of 19 shots while totaling 15 points in the last two matchups with the Pistons (31-29).

Tony Parker picked up the slack with a season-high 31 points and Aldridge added 22 with 13 boards in a 109-99 win at Detroit on Jan. 12.

While the Spurs are a regular in the playoffs, the Pistons are trying to get back there for the first time since 2009. They're tied with Indiana for seventh in the East after following a five-game slide with a season high-tying fourth straight win, 114-101 over Atlantic Division-leading Toronto on Sunday.

"Young, dumb and we don't know any better," said guard Reggie Jackson, who had 19 points and eight assists. "That's who we are. We just continue to fight and continue to battle. We come out and try to be the best versions of ourselves."

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