Pistons 85, Spurs 77
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Chauncey Billups didn’t care that he missed eight of his first nine shots, or that he had just five points with three-plus minutes left.
He was determined to keep shooting—and his confidence led the Detroit Pistons to their franchise record-tying 13th straight win.
Billups scored 13 of his 18 points in the final 3:17 to lift Detroit to an 85-77 win over the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
“If I get a look late in the game, I just feel like I’m going to make it,” said Billups, who didn’t miss a shot as he scored the game’s final 10 points. “I don’t know what it is in me.”
The only other time Detroit won 13 in a row was 1989-90, the season it won its second straight NBA title.
Detroit will have a chance to break the record set by “The Bad Boys” on Tuesday on the road against the Central Division-leading Indiana Pacers, led by its former coach, Rick Carlisle.
“We tied the streak and now we want to break it,” said Chucky Atkins, who had eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. “We are going up against our old coach for the No. 14.”
Pistons coach Larry Brown had not won 13 straight in his Hall of Fame career until Monday.
Detroit matched the league’s best winning streak, which was set by the Spurs in December. The Pistons have not lost since New Jersey beat them at home on Dec. 26.
After the Spurs enjoyed slim leads in the final quarter, Billups tied it at 72 with a 3-pointer with 3:17 left.
Billups made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:28 left, and his three-point play put the Pistons up 81-77 with 48.6 seconds to go. He then made all four of his free throw attempts to seal the win during Detroit’s game-ending, 12-0 run.
“Chauncey came up with some heroics, and that was basically the difference,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
Tim Duncan had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, but the two-time league MVP did not come through when they needed him most.
Duncan missed two free throws when San Antonio was ahead 77-75 with 1:47 left, and his shot was blocked by Ben Wallace on its next possession.
“Ben did an excellent job on me, especially the block, and I missed the two free throws,” Duncan said. “That was a turning point.
“I know I really hurt the team there.”
San Antonio’s Hedo Turkoglu scored 14, Charlie Ward had 12 points and Manu Ginobili added 10. A game after Rasho Nesterovic scored a season-high 23 points in a win over Boston, he fouled out with just six points.
Large leads—and made shots—were tough to come by in a matchup of two of the NBA’s top defensive teams. Detroit’s biggest lead was the final margin, and San Antonio’s was five points. The Spurs made 43.2 percent of its shots, andthe Pistons shot 41.1 percent.
San Antonio’s Malik Rose sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and did not return. … The Pistons are 10-5 against the Western Conference, and the Spurs are 16-5 against the East. … Detroit snapped a six-game losing streak to the Spurs, who were held to an all-time low point total against the Pistons. … Brown was San Antonio’s coach from the 1988-89 seasons through part of the 1991-92 season, and Popovich was one of his assistants. …Popovich was the best man in Brown’s wedding.