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wunderkind03
12-25-2005, 09:10 PM
By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
December 25, 2005

San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan (21) takes a shot over the defense of Detroit Pistons' Rasheed Wallace during the second half of their NBA basketball game on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 25, 2005 in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Pistons won 85-70.
AP - Dec 25, 3:09 pm EST
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- This was not just another game for Antonio McDyess. He was still stung by the Pistons' loss in the NBA Finals six months ago.

The reserve forward came through with a season-high 13 rebounds and 10 points in Detroit's 85-70 victory Sunday over San Antonio -- a rematch of the title series and a game between the teams with the two best records in the league this season.

"I was a little more motivated for the win," McDyess said after his first double-double of the season. "It was my first finals. To lose like we did, I'm going to remember it for the rest of my life."

McDyess seemed to take the setback the hardest because he wasn't on the team when it won the title two seasons ago.

"He was so close and it sort of slipped away," teammate Ben Wallace said.

Detroit dominated this gritty defensive struggle. The Pistons held the Spurs to their lowest-scoring first quarter as they missed 13 of their last 14 shots. Both teams shot about 40 percent.

"You saw both teams as basically who they are -- meat-and-potato teams," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "Maybe this is why the game wasn't hyped as much. This is what basketball was meant to be like -- play defense, play team basketball."

The game featuring the past two champions opened the NBA's annual Christmas doubleheader, lacking the Shaq-Kobe hype of the Heat-Lakers matchup that followed.

"We're very honored, but we realize it is a great responsibility to play in the JV game," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich joked before the game. "We have to do a good job to make sure the fans stay around to watch the varsity game."

The Pistons won their seventh straight and improved to an NBA-best 22-3, their best 25-game record in franchise history. The Spurs have lost three of five, but their 21-7 mark is the league's second best.

"We were playing a lot closer at the end of the season," Popovich said. "They're a little bit ahead of us."

Detroit's Chauncey Billups scored 20 points and Ben Wallace had 10 points and 21 rebounds, the most for him since the 2003-04 season. Rasheed Wallace scored 14 points and Richard Hamilton had 11 for the Pistons.

San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker (9) looks for a teammate while dribbling past mid-court during the second half of their NBA basketball game against Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 25, 2005, in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Pistons won 85-70.
AP - Dec 25, 3:08 pm EST
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"We've had different people carry us at different times," Saunders said. "That's what has made this a very good team, and has made us tougher to play against."

While the game was low scoring, much like the 2005 NBA Finals, the matchups were intriguing.

Bruce Bowen hounded Hamilton, holding him to 4-of-15 shooting. Tim Duncan and Rasheed Wallace dueled sensationally near the basket.

The Pistons have maintained their gutty defense while being more aggressive -- and effective -- on offense under Saunders. Detroit was coached the previous two years by Larry Brown, now with the New York Knicks.

"Flip has upped their offense," Popovich said. "He has them really confident in what they're running offensively, but they're also one of the best defensive teams in the game."

San Antonio's Tony Parker scored 19 points and Duncan had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

With Manu Ginobili missing his eighth straight game with a sprained right foot, Parker and Duncan had little help. Reserve Nazr Mohammed had 10 points. Michael Finley, who replaced Ginobili, had three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"We would love to have Manu, but that wouldn't have made much of a difference on the boards," Popovich said.

The Pistons made just 42 percent of their shots, but held the Spurs to 40 percent shooting and outrebounded them 57-30, including 18-6 on the offensive glass.

"Every time we got within four or five, they would get an offensive rebound," Popovich said.

Detroit led by 10 after holding the Spurs to eight points, their fewest first-quarter points in franchise history and a total that matched their low from any quarter.

The Spurs lost the lead midway through the first quarter, and didn't regain it. Detroit led by four after three quarters and outscored the Spurs 28-17 in the fourth.

"They just outplayed us, honestly," Duncan said. "They took the game over down the stretch."

The Pistons, playing on Christmas for the third time in four years, hosted a game on the holiday for the first time since 1984, when they played at the Pontiac Silverdome. The Spurs played on the holiday for the first time since 1999.

"We had a little more energy because we were at home," Ben Wallace said. "It's tough to play away from home on Christmas."

The Spurs led 6-2 before turning cold. Detroit scored the last eight points of the quarter, taking an 18-8 lead. Parker was 4-of-8 in the first quarter, and his teammates were scoreless after missing 12 shots and two free throws. San Antonio stayed in the game with its defense, holding the Pistons to 6-of-18 shooting.

Duncan, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, came alive in the second quarter with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. But the Pistons got eight points from reserves and led 40-30 at halftime. San Antonio went on a 10-4 run early in the second half and later scored six straight, pulling to 49-46.

The Pistons led 57-53 after three quarters. McDyess made consecutive baskets early in the fourth to spark an 11-4 run, allowing Detroit to coast to victory.

"We just tried to show that we're the best team," McDyess said.

Notes

The sold-out crowd included Kid Rock, a regular at The Palace, and Eva Longoria, Parker's girlfriend. Longoria was booed when shown on the video board, and she responded by holding up a Spurs championship pendant on her necklace. ... San Antonio tied its franchise low for points in a quarter, set in 1999 and matched in 2001. ... The Spurs surpassed their franchise low for points in the first half by two points. ... Detroit plays Jan. 12 at San Antonio.

half a game behind the world champs. is it me or does it seem like the spurs lose or parker sucks when eva longoria watches them play ;)

Drbio
12-25-2005, 09:43 PM
Around the NBA Section?

;)

Thespiralgoeson
12-25-2005, 09:44 PM
A faillure for the Spurs is an opportunity for the Mavs. Merry Christmas, all! Merry Christmas indeed.

dude1394
12-26-2005, 04:15 PM
The Pistons made just 42 percent of their shots, but held the Spurs to 40 percent shooting and outrebounded them 57-30, including 18-6 on the offensive glass.

The spurs are soft...

sike
12-26-2005, 05:50 PM
how many of SA losses have been to so/so teams???

sike
12-26-2005, 05:53 PM
they lost to Washington by 15, to Chi by 7, to Atlanta by 10, the Hornets by 15, Bucks by 2

ouch....is this just the Spurs feeling their way through the early season...Manu's injury....or a sign of things to come??

SaltwaterChaffy
12-26-2005, 06:54 PM
Don't know if you can call the Bucks so-so, Sike.

alby
12-26-2005, 09:41 PM
i think they are coasting honestly..

with that being said, they still started out with their best record in franchise history

this is a great team, no doubt..

dude1394
12-26-2005, 10:50 PM
they lost to Washington by 15, to Chi by 7, to Atlanta by 10, the Hornets by 15, Bucks by 2

ouch....is this just the Spurs feeling their way through the early season...Manu's injury....or a sign of things to come??

Without manu they are not the same team. The parker/duncan can't get it done. The rest of the team is old, old, old.

big shot rob is spent, finley we've seen, nve is back for one last run, barry is nada, rasho is nada, nazr is nada. That team needs to get younger but has just gotten older.

MavsFanFinley
12-27-2005, 12:07 AM
ouch....is this just the Spurs feeling their way through the early season...Manu's injury....or a sign of things to come??

I don't think they're coasting but they certainly haven't brought that sense of urgency yet. While Fin has filled in nicely in Manu's absence they absolutely miss him. Whether he returns as a starter or off the bench. He was interviewed during the Pistons game and said he hoped to be back next game (tomorrow against the Pacers). We'll see if he does and whether he can stay healthy once he does return.

Manu's been injured more than not and they also had stretches where Fin and Barry were out. They really haven't had a good stretch where everyone was healthy. And they usually start slow and end with a bang. I see no reason yet that they won't do the same this year.

While other teams might not fear them I don't think it's time to write them off.