Auburn Hills, MI – Greg Monroe scored 26 points and pulled down 16 rebounds and Brandon Knight scored 24 points, as the Detroit Pistons earned a hard-fought 119-109 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.
Charlie Villanueva came off the bench and contributed 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc for the Pistons, who ended a three-game losing streak. Kyle Singler added 14 points and seven boards and Rodney Stuckey donated 11 points, four assists and six rebounds in the victory.
"I thought to begin the game we had a great rhythm and flow, outside of maybe two of the first eight possessions, of just really working everything we did," Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "Whether it was in transition working our offense, or really getting quality shots and great ball movement, and just not settling for first option opportunities."
The Pistons played without rookie center Andre Drummond, who is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks after recently sustaining a lower back injury. He had averages of 7.3 points, 7.5 rebounds (second among NBA rookies) and 1.7 blocks per contest.
Tony Parker had 31 points and dished out eight helpers for the Spurs, who lost for the first time in their last 12 games. Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points and Danny Green added 15 -- all on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range -- in defeat.
The Spurs were without forward Tim Duncan, who missed the game because of knee and ankle issues, and guard Manu Ginobili, who missed his third straight due to a left hamstring injury.
"We are not going to try and find any excuses," Parker said. "They just played well and you have to give them credit. They made a lot of threes when they needed it and they made stops when they needed it."
Detroit owned a 65-52 halftime lead that was increased just over five minutes into the third quarter, when Jason Maxiell's putback slam made the score 77-63.
As the quarter came to a close, Stuckey and Monroe accounted for the majority of the Detroit offense, helping the Pistons finish the final four minutes on a 14-6 flurry which saw the home team enter the final period ahead 95-78.
Both teams heated up in the fourth quarter, as the Spurs threatened the make the game interesting when Green's triple with 7:17 remaining brought the visitors within 101-93.
Detroit responded with a trey by Villanueva and a quick Will Bynum layup, however, to stretch its lead back to 13 points.
Green and Parker, however, returned the favor with a 3-pointer and driving lay-in, respectively, to pull the Spurs within 106-98 with 5 1/2 minutes to play.
The Pistons, though, were determined to end their losing ways -- two of their last three loses came by three points or less -- and Villanueva's 3- pointer with 2:01 remaining made it 116-105 in Detroit's favor, allowing the Pistons to hold on to the win.
Detroit trailed early in the first quarter, but capitalized offensively with a 19-7 run that helped the Pistons take a 31-23 lead into the second.
Villanueva nailed three 3-pointers and registered 11 points alone in the second quarter as the Pistons' turned things up with a fast-paced attack. Monroe's lay-in with 7:02 before the break started a flurry which saw the home team turn a 10-point lead into a 65-44 advantage with 1:42 left in the stanza.
San Antonio closed out the second quarter with eight straight points, however, to cut its deficit to 13 at intermission.
The Pistons played a solid first half, shooting 59.1 percent while getting four players -- Villanueva, Singler, Knight and Monroe -- in double-figures.
"It was Detroit playing much better than we did all around," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought Coach Frank's squad was really well prepared. They had a lot of juice. They beat us to the boards and they beat us to loose balls. They were very unselfish at the offensive end and moved the ball to open three point shooters."
Villanueva, Stuckey and Bynum accounted for all of Detroit's 41 bench points ... The Pistons shot 51.7 percent (46-of-89) for the game, compared to 45.7 percent (37-of-81) for the Spurs ... Detroit held an 49-33 advantage in rebounds ... Duncan has only played twice in the Spurs' last nine games.