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San Antonio Spurs top Detroit Pistons in battle of short-handed teams

Apr 22, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop (31) shoots over Detroit Pistons center Jahlil Okafor (13) in the first quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop (31) shoots over Detroit Pistons center Jahlil Okafor (13) in the first quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick White scored 26 points, 11 of them in the pivotal third quarter, to help the San Antonio Spurs earn a 106-91 win over the visiting Detroit Pistons on Thursday in a battle of short-handed squads.

The game was the second of a back-to-back for both teams, and play was ragged. The Spurs lost at home to the Miami Heat on Wednesday while Detroit fell on the road to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Spurs (29-29) were up by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, but Detroit clawed back within 84-81 after a layup by Hamidou Diallo with 7:20 to play. San Antonio responded with a 13-1 surge that was capped by a 3-pointer from Keldon Johnson with 4:24 remaining, and that was more than enough to get the Spurs to the finish line.

Lonnie Walker IV contributed 18 points for the Spurs, who have won three of their past four games. Jakob Poeltl added 17 points and 11 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 14 points and Johnson scored 10 for San Antonio.

The Spurs rested Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills, and they announced just prior to tipoff that DeMar DeRozan, their leading scorer on the season, would sit due to a right quad contusion.

The Pistons’ Josh Jackson led all scorers with 29 points. Frank Jackson racked up 14, Killian Hayes tallied 12 and Isaiah Stewart grabbed 13 rebounds for Detroit (18-42), losers of three of the past four.

Detroit played without Jerami Grant (left quad contusion), Cory Joseph (left ankle injury), Rodney McGruder (right elbow strain), Dennis Smith Jr. (right knee soreness) and Mason Plumlee and Wayne Ellington (both for rest).

The first quarter went back and forth before two free throws by Gay with 3.5 seconds left granted the Spurs a 26-25 lead at the end of the period.

Detroit scored the first six points of the second quarter only to see San Antonio respond with a 16-2 run to take a 42-33 advantage after a White jumper at the 5:40 mark of the period.

The Spurs moved their advantage to 57-47 at halftime. Walker led San Antonio with 12 points in the first half with Gay adding 11 off the bench.

Josh Jackson’s 16 points paced all scorers before halftime while Hayes hit for 10 for the Pistons.

–Field Level Media