AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (AP) ― Brandon Jennings scored 21 points, and the Detroit Pistons beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-100 on Monday night in John Loyer’s first game as interim coach.
Detroit abruptly fired Maurice Cheeks on Sunday after only 50 games as coach, but although they’ve been unimpressive for the most part this season, the Pistons have played better lately. The comfortable win over the Spurs was Detroit’s fifth in seven games.
Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points for the Pistons, and Greg Monroe added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Marco Belinelli led the Spurs with 20 points.
Detroit pulled even with Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Pistons have shown flashes recently of the potential they thought they’d have this season. After signing Josh Smith and trading for Jennings in the offseason, Detroit is barely ahead of last season’s pace in terms of wins and losses.
Jennings has been terrific lately, though. After scoring 35 points with 12 assists Saturday against Denver, he orchestrated another strong offensive effort Monday.
San Antonio, meanwhile, turned the ball over eight times in the third quarter, when Detroit pushed its lead from 11 to 20.
With Loyer ― an assistant under Cheeks ― hoarsely shouting defensive instructions from the sideline, the Pistons went on a 12-2 run in the third to take a 73-52 lead.
There were a few other highlights later in the period, too. Smith threw down a one-handed dunk after a turnover by San Antonio, and Jennings made a layup after Detroit’s Andre Drummond blocked Aron Baynes’ shot emphatically off the glass.West, Pacers cruise
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ― David West scored 25 points and Roy Hibbert added 14 as the Indiana Pacers routed the short-handed Denver Nuggets 119-80 on Monday night.
|Denver Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson dunks against the Indiana Pacers on Monday. (USA Today-Yonhap)|
Indiana snapped a five-game skid in the series, beating the Nuggets for the first time since a 31-point blowout in November 2010. The Pacers (40-11) still have the NBA’s best record, the league’s best home record (25-2) and now lead two-time defending champion Miami by four games in the Eastern Conference.
Wilson Chandler scored 17 points and J.J. Hickson added 12 to lead the Nuggets (24-26), who have lost three straight and played without several injured players, including Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson.
After the first six minutes, this game was never close.
The Pacers took control with a 21-5 run that made it 37-20 early in the second quarter. Then, they closed the half on a 14-4 spurt to make it 61-40, and the Nuggets couldn’t get closer than 19 in the second half.
Indiana, which lost Sunday at Orlando, hasn’t lost back-to-back games since mid-December and hasn’t lost three straight all season. The Pacers finished this one with a season-high points total and a season-best shooting percentage (57.5).
Toronto 108, New Orleans 101
Boston 102, Milwaukee 86
Houston 107, Minnesota 89
Golden St. 123, Philadelphia 80