The San Antonio Spurs had one of their worst defensive performances of the season Friday night in losing to the Detroit Pistons 119-109. The Spurs’ 11-game NBA winning streak came to an end in a stunning way.
But coach Gregg Popovich insists it was a one-game dilemma worthy of little if no concern to his team.
“It was Detroit playing much better than we did all around. I thought Coach (Lawrence) Frank’s squad was really well prepared,” Popovich said. “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 3-point shooters. We are supposed to be pretty good at guarding the 3-point line and they just sliced and diced us in that regard.”
In Popovich’s defense, it was a long season and even the Detroit Pistons can beat the San Antonio Spurs on a given day. It happens.
But how it happened was stunning.
The Spurs lack of defense was shocking. The Pistons, not normally a sharp-shooting team, was 46-of-89 from the floor for 51.7 percent and 10-of-22 from the 3-point stripe for 45.5 percent. Over their previous three games, the Pistons were shooting 28.9 percent from the 3-point area. The Spurs came into the contest as the third best defense against 3-pointers.
Pistons playmakers had 26 assists against the San Antonio defense. It was hard to comprehend what was going on the court with a team struggling to make the playoffs against one of the best in the NBA.
“It is too late in the season, sometimes you play like that,” Popovich said.