AUBURN HILLS -- Stan Van Gundy is rarely a good loser.
Wednesday, though, there wasn't much he could say.
The Pistons, running on fumes heading into the All-Star break, were simply dismantled by a San Antonio team that has done the same thing several hundred times over the last 18 seasons.
"That's a great team, and they've been at this for a long time," Van Gundy said after the 104-87 loss. "I don't give our guys a break too often, but I'm not disappointed in this game. We fought hard, but we ran out of gas against a team that isn't going to beat itself."
Detroit was playing its 19th game in 33 days, and they only had 24 minutes of energy left. A strong defensive performance kept them within nine points at halftime, but the Spurs broke the game open with an offensive clinic in the third quarter.
Using the incredible ball movement that Gregg Popovich has been preaching for almost two decades, San Antonio shot 66.7 percent in the period, scoring 34 points against an exhausted defense.
"They are a great, championship team, and they play so well on both ends of the floor," said D.J. Augustin, whose 22 points kept the game from getting completely out of hand. "Both defenses were good in the first half, but they move the ball so well that you run yourself into the ground chasing them. That uses up so much energy that you've got nothing left on offense."
Unsurprisingly, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all on the floor for most of the third quarter. Even though it has been 10 years since that trio helped break Detroit's hearts in the 2005 finals, the trio is still at the top of their game.
"They move the ball as well as anyone in the game," Van Gundy said. "Every guy on that roster loves to pass the ball, but more importantly, they are skilled passers. It's one thing to have willing passers, but when they are skilled as well, it is tough to beat. They just took us apart in the third quarter."
So now, other than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who will be on his way to New York for the Rising Stars game, the Pistons and their coach will go their separate ways for a much-needed rest.
"We need this right now," Augustin said. "We're going to keep working hard, and we think we can do some great things in the rest of the season, but right now, we're tired."