Detroit (7-7) at San Antonio (13-3)

Fair Currently: San Antonio, TX
Temp: 88° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Fri Dec 3, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Winners of five straight, the San Antonio Spurs are playing like a title contender. With Ben Wallace back, the defending champion Detroit Pistons hope they can return to that form.

The Spurs look to extend a 20-game home winning streak, and match the best start in franchise history when they host the Pistons.

San Antonio continues to dominate at the SBC Center, winning all seven of its games there this season and 20 straight in the regular season since losing 81-80 to Memphis on March 1.

Now the Spurs have a chance to equal their best start after 17 games. They went 14-3 in 1999-00.

Tim Duncan scored 24 points, including 17 straight in the second quarter, to lead San Antonio to a 105-72 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

The Spurs have won five in a row overall, outscoring opponents by an average of 22.4 points.

San Antonio, though, is facing a Pistons team that will be able to field Ben Wallace for the first time since the Nov. 19 brawl with the Indiana Pacers. Wallace was suspended for six games for his role in the scuffle.

Detroit went 3-3 without its All-Star center.

“They’re the NBA champions till told otherwise,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They’re a heck of a team. They’re very well coached. It will be a heck of a challenge for us Friday.”

Duncan also had 12 rebounds and six blocks in 25 minutes Wednesday in picking up his league-leading 14th double-double of the season and 415th of his career, but the Spurs’ bench also keyed the victory.

San Antonio guard Devin Brown scored a career-high 24 points and fellow reserve Beno Udrih added 10 points and four assists. Brown, in his second NBA season, made four of seven 3-point attempts. He had 16 points in a 107-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

“He’s a good basketball player,” Popovich said of Brown. “He improved last year down the stretch and in the playoffs. He got off to a slow start this season, but he’s picked it up. He’s done a good job in a lot of ways.”

Antonio McDyess had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Richard Hamilton also scored 19 on Tuesday, helping Detroit snap a five-game road losing streak with a 93-72 win over the struggling Houston Rockets.

Coach Larry Brown, whose Pistons are a disappointing .500, was briefly reminded of the team’s championship run last season, when it won with hustle, teamwork and devotion to defense.

“That’s the way we used to play,” Brown said. “We set the tone.”

Wallace, who’s been watching games from his suburban Detroit home during the suspension, has lost $400,000 of the $6 million he was due to make this season.

“He should be fresh and he should be light. Light in the pockets,” said Detroit guard Chauncey Billups, who had 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

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