AP NEWS

Pistons take big lead against Spurs, hold it this time

December 31, 2017

Detroit — The Pistons weren’t going to let it happen again.

In their first meeting with the Spurs, in San Antonio on Dec. 4, they had a nine-point lead in the third quarter and let it slip away.

The reserve group, maligned in the loss at Orlando on Thursday, turned things around and helped the Pistons dispatch the Spurs, 93-79, on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena, for their sixth win in the last eight games.

Rookie Luke Kennard led the reserves with career-best 20 points and Reggie Bullock sparked the starters with a career-high 22 points. Andre Drummond added 14 points, 21 rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Pistons (20-15), who have won four straight at home.

The Pistons were without Stanley Johnson (strained hip flexor) but the bounceback game from the bench made up for the shortfall, with only 12 players dressed for the game.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 93, Spurs 79

The Spurs (25-12) cut the lead to 63-57 entering the fourth quarter and got within four on a lay-in by Pau Gasol. Over the next five-plus minutes, the Pistons put the game away with an 18-6 run. Kennard had 10 points during the stretch, including a pair of 3-pointers. Tobias Harris (12 points and four rebounds) and Bullock added four points each, boosting the lead to 83-65 with 5:29 remaining.

Kawhi Leonard had 18 points for the Spurs but the Pistons did a good job defending him and LaMarcus Aldridge (15 points), as they combined to go 10-of-26 from the field and were the only starters to score in double figures for San Antonio.

Ish Smith (18 points and four assists) continued to look comfortable in his second start of the season, subbing for Reggie Jackson, who is out 6-8 weeks because of a severe ankle sprain.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard