One important aspect in the game of basketball is consistency. The ability to put forth a similar product (whether good or bad) night in, and night out. For the San Antonio Spurs, Monday in Detroit was a reminder that consistency is still a ways out of arms reach, as they continue to deal with injuries through each game. As has been the trend in dealing with injuries to match starting lineups with different opponents, the Spurs began yet another game with a new lineup comprised of a few new faces who hadn’t played too much together.
Tony Parker (11 points), Nando De Colo, Danny Green, Tim Duncan (11 points, 8 rebounds), and Aron Baynes started the game for the Spurs against a fiery Pistons team that was playing its first game under a new head coach. The end result of new lineups and players playing together, who weren’t accustomed to playing together, would be 19 turnovers for the Spurs, as the Pistons defeated them 109-100.
On this Monday evening, the Pistons looked like the talented team most thought they would be this summer when bringing in Brandon Jennings (21 points, 6 assists) and Josh Smith (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), instead of the actual 22-29 team their record portrays them as. Jennings, Rodney Stuckey (20 points), and the big-man trio of Andre Drummond (14 points, 9 rebounds), Greg Monroe (15 points, 10 rebounds), and Smith clicked on this particular night as they blew out the Spurs in the third quarter.
Throughout the first half, the Spurs stayed on pace with the Pistons, but then with 3:28 left in the second quarter, Jennings would boost the Pistons to a 15-5 run going into the half. Detroit, led by 11 points at halftime, and they were just getting started. To blow the lid off the Palace at Auburn Hills, the Pistons began the third quarter with a quick 10-2 run within the first three minutes of the quarter, to put themselves ahead by 19 points. The Spurs would keep the margin of deficit between 17-23 points in the third, and in the fourth quarter. In the final minute of the fourth, the Spurs’ bench had trimmed the Pistons lead down to nine points, but the 28-17 quarter for San Antonio came far too late.
Green and Mills sustain injuries, should be ok vs. Celtics
In the second half, Green went to the locker room with what looked like an injury to his right hand. Green would return to the Spurs’ bench in the fourth quarter with tape on two of his fingers on his right hand, and he would not return to the game. After the game, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News reported that Patty Mills had sprained an ankle, and Green had sprained a knuckle. Mills and Green though, are expected to be back against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday according to McDonald.
Belinelli finds shooting mark
Though it was a loss, Marco Belinelli was one of the lone bright spots offensively for the Spurs as he kept San Antonio close in the first half with seven points in the second quarter, and then did as much as he could to not let the Pistons extend their lead past 23 points, with seven more points in the third quarter. Belinelli finished with 20 points and five rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting. He also shot 50% from 3-point range and accounted for 4 of the Spurs’ 5 made three pointers.
Missing Splitter hurts Spurs’ interior defense
With Tiago Splitter missing his second straight game due to a right calf contusion, the Spurs’ interior defense took a huge hit against Detroit’s front court of Monroe and Drummond. The Pistons as a team scored 52 points in the paint, but Detroit had its impact on the Spurs’ front court players as Duncan turned the ball over six times, Baynes was called for three fouls, and Jeff Ayres was also called for five fouls. Take a look at Drummond (left) and Monroe’s (right) shot selection on the night.
Decision day for Brown
Shannon Brown is coming up on his 10-day contract deadline Tuesday, as he awaits word on if he’ll be offered another 10-day deal, or if he’ll be released. Brown played 6:05 minutes in the fourth quarter Monday as he scored 4 points on 1-of-2 shooting, made 2 free throws and had an assist. In the six games he’s played with the Spurs, Brown has averaged 2.2 points, 1.2 rebounds, and he’s shot 28.6% from the field in 8.3 minutes per game. If Monday was Brown’s last game with the Spurs, here’s how his shot chart finished out.
Where San Antonio Stands
· Regular Season: 37-15 (2nd in the Western Conference)
· Road Record: 19-7 (1st in the NBA)
· Vs. Opponents with -.500 records: 21-3
· Vs. the Eastern Conference: 15-6
· Without Manu Ginobili: 4-3
· Without Kawhi Leonard: 5-5
· Rodeo Road Trip: 3-2
(All stats used via NBA.com/Stats)