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Pistons snap Spurs' winning streak

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The San Antonio Spurs knew their winning streak would eventually end. They couldn't have guessed that an offensive explosion by the downtrodden Detroit Pistons would do the trick.

Greg Monroe had 26 points and 16 rebounds as Detroit snapped San Antonio's 11-game winning streak with a 119-109 victory at The Palace on Friday.

Brandon Knight supplied 24 points for the Pistons (19-32), who had lost seven of their last nine but led by as much as 21 against the team with the league's best record. Charlie Villanueva scored a season-high 21 points off the bench and Kyle Singler chipped in 14 for Detroit, which tied its season high in points.

"It's definitely big-time," Knight said of the win. "It just shows how good of a team we can be. We've just got to continue to play like that, with the same energy, the same effort, the same focus."

The Pistons shot 51.7 percent and made 10 of 22 from long range against the league's second-stingiest 3-point defense.

"Great question," Spurs guard Tony Parker said of his team's AWOL defense. "If I had an answer, we'd make it happen. It was just one of those nights where they were making shots. They're not known for 3-point shooting and tonight they made a lot of 3s."

Parker led the Spurs (39-12) with 31 points and eight assists. San Antonio's last loss was a 101-98 overtime decision at Memphis on Jan. 11.

Kawhi Leonard had 16 points and Danny Green added 15 but the Spurs, who gave up a season high in regulation points, dropped to 1-1 on their nine-game road trip.

"Coach (Lawrence) Frank's team was really well-prepared. They had a lot of juice," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "They beat us on the boards, they beat us to loose balls and they were unselfish on the offensive end, moving the ball to their 3-point shooters. We're supposed to be pretty good at guarding the 3-point line and they just sliced and diced us."

San Antonio played once again without two of its top players. Tim Duncan missed his sixth game in the last seven with a sore left knee, while Manu Ginobili sat out for the third straight game with a tight left hamstring.

Detroit led by 13 at the half and hung tough in the third quarter, never allowing the Spurs to get closer than nine points. Monroe was the primary reason, as he racked up 13 points and six rebounds in the quarter. A Rodney Stuckey putback in the final minute gave the Pistons a 95-78 advantage entering the fourth.

Green's 3-pointer with 7:19 remaining pulled the Spurs within eight, 101-93. Villanueva got those points back with a 3-pointer of his own and Will Bynum's transition basket made it 106-93.

"Every time we came close -- eight or nine points -- they came up with a big three," Parker said. "Sometimes, that's going to happen in the NBA."

An 8-2 San Antonio run closed the gap to seven but Knight responded with five consecutive points. Another Villanueva 3-pointer with just over two minutes left gave his club a 116-105 lead and ended the Spurs' comeback bid.

The Pistons scored a season high in points for any half while taking a 65-52 halftime lead. They used a strong transition game and solid 3-point shooting to build the first-half lead. They had 13 fast-break points and made 7 of 12 attempts from long range, including three by Villanueva.

Singler gave Detroit its biggest lead of the half at 65-44 with a pull-up jumper.

"We were able to get some stops early and that allowed us to get out in transition and get a lot of easy baskets on the break," Monroe said. "It was definitely a good game all-around for us. It's just a good building block for us."

NOTES: Pistons rookie center Andre Drummond was declared out four-to-six weeks prior to the game because of a stress fracture to his fifth lumbar vertebra. Drummond, who missed the second half of the previous two games, will not require surgery. He is averaging 7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. ... The Spurs, who are scheduled to play at Brooklyn on Sunday night, had to spend the night in Detroit because of the East Coast blizzard. ... San Antonio leads the all-time series 48-31. ... The Spurs have used 12 starters this season, most in the league. ... Detroit was shooting 28.9 percent on 3-point attempts over the previous nine games before its 3-point barrage on Friday. ... The Pistons, who had lost their last three meetings with the Spurs, had a 49-33 rebounding advantage.

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