Spurs Hit The Palace

The San Antonio Spurs just suffered their worst loss of the season, while the Detroit Pistons lost a tight game that came down to the final shot.

Pistons coach Flip Saunders, however, seems a lot more angry about his team's latest performance than Spurs coach Gregg Popovich does about his club's blowout defeat.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Detroit –3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 178.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -3.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Two of the NBA's best square off Friday when San Antonio (44-20) continues a three-game road trip in Detroit (46-18), with both teams hoping to prove their last games were nothing more than an aberration.

The Pistons began their five-game homestand with a 116-109 win over Chicago on Sunday, shooting 50.6 percent outrebounding the Bulls 42-28.

On Wednesday, though, Detroit was outrebounded 39-32 and committed an unusually high 15 turnovers, losing 83-82 to Philadelphia when Chauncey Billups' jumper bounced off the rim as time expired.

"We were terrible,'' Saunders said. "The score isn't reflective of the way we played - we shouldn't have only lost this game by one point.''

Detroit has the NBA's second-best record, but it's struggled lately against top teams. The Pistons are 4-3 in their last seven contests, the four wins coming against teams that would currently qualify for the draft lottery and the three losses to teams that are in playoff position.

The Pistons' uninspired play hasn't been the fault of Billups or Tayshaun Prince. Billups is averaging 21.4 points and 6.8 assists in his last 10 games, while Prince is scoring 19.2 per game in his last six.

Another pair of Detroit starters hasn't been performing nearly as well. Guard Richard Hamilton (17.7 ppg) is averaging 14.2 points and shooting 38.8 percent in his last five games, while forward Antonio McDyess is scoring only 5.6 points per game over his last seven.

One positive in the Pistons' win Wednesday night was the return of forward Rasheed Wallace, who scored 17 points after missing two games with an ankle sprain.

Wallace has been excellent in his last four games against the Spurs, averaging 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds. He had 23 points and 15 rebounds in the teams' first meeting this season, a 90-80 Detroit victory in San Antonio on Jan. 10.

That win prompted Wallace to do a little speculating.

"This is a good team. I think, in my opinion, this is one of the teams we'll see in the finals," he said of the club that defeated the Pistons in seven games for the title in 2005. "So, it's always a good game with us and San Antonio."

The Spurs, however, didn't look much like a team bound for the finals Wednesday, losing 100-75 at Southwest rival New Orleans. It was their worst defeat since a 104-68 loss at Dallas on April 7, 2005.

Popovich, though, was content to give the Hornets credit and move on.

"They just played better than we did," Popovich said. "They shot the ball well. They were aggressive. Any way you want to slice it, they did a great job."

The loss was the Spurs' third straight on the road, and they've been outscored by an average of 15.0 points in those games. San Antonio has lost three of four since winning a season-high 11 in a row.

Tim Duncan has played well despite the team's recent struggles, averaging 21.8 points and 12.0 rebounds in his last four games. He hasn't produced at that level against the Pistons, however, averaging 16.4 points in his last nine meetings with them.

Manu Ginobili has had a pair of poor shooting performances in his last two games against Detroit, going 5-for-18 combined and averaging 9.5 points.

The Spurs won in their last visit to The Palace, 90-81 on Feb. 14, 2007, but have lost four of six overall in the series.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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