AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Michael Curry was quite happy with the way his team defended Tim Duncan on Thursday night.
That’s why the rookie Detroit Pistons coach was so impressed that Duncan finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds in San Antonio’s 83-79 victory.
“It says a lot about Tim Duncan that we can say he didn’t have a great game when he had 18 and 18,” Curry said. “People aren’t going to fully appreciate what a great player they’re watching until he retires. He just goes out there and does that game after game.”
Duncan had seven points and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter, helping the Spurs break a three-game road losing streak.
“Tim is the base to everything we do,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounded and he got some buckets, and that’s what we needed.”
Tony Parker added 19 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who are 4-3 on an eight-game road trip.
“This was tough, but we’ll take it, because we needed a win,” Parker said. “We’ve lost a couple games that we could have won, so this gives us some confidence to try to finish this in Washington.”
The Pistons dropped to 2-10 at home in the past six weeks, and face a road trip that includes games at Boston, Cleveland, New Orleans and Orlando.
“We lost again,” point guard Rodney Stuckey said. “I don’t know. I really can’t explain anything anymore. We just keep losing, and now we’ve got some great teams to play.”
San Antonio led 64-58 going into the fourth, and although the Pistons got as close as three, George Hill’s fast-break dunk made it 73-66 with 6:35 left.
Detroit rallied again, and Iverson’s jumper pulled the Pistons within 78-77 with 3 minutes to play. Two stops gave the Pistons a pair of chances to take the lead, and Iverson took advantage of the second with a layup with 1:21 to go.
Rasheed Wallace fouled Parker, who gave San Antonio a 80-79 lead from the line, and Iverson missed at the other end. McDyess hurdled the Spurs bench to save the rebound, but Michael Finley grabbed the loose ball.
Parker’s jumper bounced off the rim, and Wallace grabbed the rebound with 28 seconds left, but missed a fadeaway over Duncan.
“We had Rasheed with a good look at a 17-footer in a one-point game,” Curry said. “That’s what you want.”
Bruce Bowen grabbed the rebound, and was fouled while frantically trying to call a timeout. Despite coming into the game shooting 47 percent from the line, he hit both shots to make it 82-79 with 9.7 seconds left.
“Bruce is a real pro,” Popovich said. “He doesn’t start for us, but he does whatever we ask. He guarded Rip (Hamilton) for a while, he guarded Allen for a while, and he did a great job.”
Iverson missed a tying 3-pointer and Duncan clinched the game from the free-throw line.
“I couldn’t have gotten a better look—I’ve got to come up with that one,” Iverson said. “I had more time than I thought, and I rushed it.”
Popovich announced before the game that sixth man Manu Ginobili will miss an additional 2-3 weeks with a right ankle injury. … McDyess got his 1,000th career block early in the fourth quarter. … Bowen finished 4-for-4 from the line—just the second time in the past three seasons that he had attempted four or more free throws in a game without missing. … The Pistons only used seven players. “We don’t play again until Sunday night, so I was able to shorten the bench,” Curry said.