Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Jennings led six Detroit players in double figures with 21 points, and the Pistons got the John Loyer era off to a strong start by posting a 109-100 victory over the San Antonio Spurs at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Rodney Stuckey poured in 20 points off the bench and Greg Monroe tallied 15 points and 10 rebounds in Loyer's debut as interim head coach, which came one day after the team surprisingly fired Maurice Cheeks.
Detroit went just 21-29 under Cheeks, but entered Monday's clash only a half- game out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and riding a two-game win streak.
"I thought our guys came out and had great effort and great determination. You try to set a little bit of a tone every day. Thankfully, the guys, they set the tone tonight. They wanted to go out and win that game," Loyer said.
Marco Belinelli returned from a one-game absence to put up 20 points for San Antonio, but the Spurs committed 19 turnovers that the Pistons converted into 26 points and were dealt only their seventh loss in 26 road tests this season.
"We probably played the worst defense we've played all season, especially in the first half," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said.
Neither team gained much of an upper hand until late in the first half, when the Pistons embarked on a 13-2 run to move in front by double digits.
Josh Smith began the surge with a pair of jumpers before Kyle Singler and Jennings hit back-to-back 3-pointers to stake Detroit to a 54-43 lead with 1:50 left in the second quarter. A successful hook shot by the Spurs' Tim Duncan ended the flurry, but Jennings buried another three on the ensuing possession to extend the margin to 12 points.
Jennings finished the half with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting to help the Pistons own a 59-48 advantage at the break, and Detroit created more distance by putting together a strong third quarter in which the Spurs turned the ball over eight times.
Five of those giveaways came during a 12-2 Pistons' burst that essentially put the game out of reach, with back-to-back inside buckets from Andre Drummond and Monroe sending Detroit ahead by a 73-52 count five minutes into the second half.
The Pistons carried a 92-72 lead into the fourth quarter and were up 105-90 with under three minutes left before San Antonio closed out the contest on a 10-4 run to make the final outcome more respectable.