Spurs looking for answers as red-hot Pistons visit
San Antonio usually uses its unique, annual Rodeo Road Trip to build chemistry and momentum for the stretch run to the playoffs.
But that's all off the table this season as the Spurs, losers of seven of their past eight games, need to find some answers, and find them quickly, beginning on Wednesday when they host the Detroit Pistons.
For the past 17 years -- since team moved from the Alamodome to the AT&T Center -- the Spurs have been forced from their home for the three-week long San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo. Never have the Spurs produced such dismal results from the arduous and lengthy road trip as this season, which ended with a single win in eight games after Monday's 101-85 loss at Brooklyn.
"Guys are not happy," Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge said. "We're frustrated. We want to win. We want to do the things to win. It's on us. No one's going to save us."
Aldridge had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead San Antonio (33-29) on Monday, and DeMar DeRozan added 23 points for the Spurs, who fell to 11-22 on the road. If there's a light at the end of the tunnel, it's that San Antonio is 22-7 at home this year, and 12 of its final 20 regular-season games are at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs, who have qualified for the postseason for the past 21 campaigns, are battling Sacramento for eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
San Antonio did a lot of things well on Monday, including holding the Nets to 11 points below their season average. The 101 points Brooklyn produced in their win matched the fewest the Spurs have allowed since Jan. 9.
But the Spurs lost because they were woeful from beyond the arc, making just 4 of 24 3-point shots, and produced a season-low 85 points.
"I'm pleased about this game, because we held a good team to 101 points," said a strangely upbeat Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after the loss. "If we continue to do that, we'll be in pretty good shape."
The Pistons head to the Alamo City in the heels of a 113-99 home win over Indiana on Monday, their third straight victory and their seventh in eight games.
Andre Drummond had 26 points and 16 rebounds in the win, and Blake Griffin (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) recorded a triple-double for Detroit, which is in the mix for a playoff spot as well.
Drummond has been a huge factor in the Pistons' recent surge, after missing three games in January while in the NBA's concussion protocol. In his past 12 contests, he's averaging 22.4 points, 16 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.1 blocks per game, while shooting 65.7 percent from the field.
"During this stretch he's been a monster," Griffin told the Detroit Free Press about Drummond. "He's imposed his will -- not only on offense and defense, but the in-between stuff, the 50-50 balls, intimidating people from going to the rim. He's been locked in."
Luke Kennard scored 19 points, and Wayne Ellington added 14 points against Indiana, his best game since joining the Pistons shortly before the All-Star break.
The Pistons poured in 18-for-41 from 3-point range (43.9 percent) in the win Monday.
"We overtook them rebounding wise, 47-42, and that was the difference in the game," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said about the win over Indiana "And our passing, we had 28 assists which was huge. Again, there's nothing like making shots, and that is the difference with our offense now."
The Spurs won the first meeting of the season, 119-107 on Jan. 7 in Detroit, between the two teams and hold a 31-13 all-time edge over the Pistons in games played in San Antonio.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 26, 2019