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Surging Spurs set to host short-handed Pistons

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The surging San Antonio Spurs will look to win three straight games for the first time this season when they host the struggling, short-handed Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

The Spurs head home after a successful four-game road trip and on the heels of a 138-110 dismantling of the Lakers on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Keita Bates-Diop hit all 11 of his shots from the floor in scoring a career-high 30 points for San Antonio, which won consecutive games for just the second time this season, sweeping the Clippers and Lakers in L.A. and winning three of four on its road trip to Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and Southern California.

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Bates-Diop is the first Spurs player to score 30 in a game this season.

“I was playing the game, reading the defense, moving around,” Bates-Diop said after the win over the Lakers said. “I don’t think I dribbled that much. My teammates just found me. We’re a young team first but obviously, we’re finally finding out who we are. Defense is our biggest thing.”

Derrick White added 23 points and Lonnie Walker IV hit for 21 for the Spurs in the win. Keldon Johnson scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds with Doug McDermott and Jock Landale adding 13 points each. San Antonio’s bench scored 69 points.

“Keita was ridiculous,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Did a fine job at both ends of the court. Really was a team effort because I thought some of the (bench) guys outplayed the starters.”

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San Antonio will be without one of those starters, point guard Dejounte Murray, who entered the league’s health and safety protocols Sunday. Murray leads the team in scoring (17.8) and assists (8.8) and is second in rebounding (8.4).

The Pistons head to San Antonio to finish up their road trip after a 115-112 loss at Miami on Thursday. Trey Lyles scored a career-high 28 points for Detroit in the loss, the Pistons’ 16th in their past 17 games. Saddiq Bey added 23 points and 10 rebounds, Cory Joseph had 21 points, and Frank Jackson tallied 19 points for Detroit.

Five players — including Cade Cunningham, the rookie who is second on the team in scoring — are in the COVID-19 protocols.

Against Miami, Detroit was also missing Jerami Grant, its leading scorer, who was out for the sixth consecutive contest because of a right thumb sprain. The Pistons had just nine players available because of the injuries and illnesses.

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Those six players are not expected to be available for Sunday’s game in the Alamo City.

“All the other guys, we just have to step up and be ready to play, which we did a good job with (against Miami),” said Joseph, who was 5 of 7 from beyond the arc but missed a corner 3-point try in the closing seconds that would have tied the game.

“It’s just the start; we’ve just got to keep on building. We played fast and played free, and we’ve just got to continue to play that way.”

The Pistons also played without coach Dwane Casey, who’s missed three of the past five games because of personal reasons. Assistant Rex Kalamian has been at the helm with Casey unavailable.

“We knew guys had to play big minutes,” Kalamian said. “They just gave everything that they had and just came up a little bit short (against Miami).”

The Spurs own a 61-35 all-time edge over Detroit that includes a sweep of the season series last year. San Antonio hasn’t lost at home to the Pistons since 2015.

–Field Level Media

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