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article imageNBA: Spurs blow huge 4th quarter lead, hang on over Detroit

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 15, 2012 in Sports
Detroit - After blowing a 15-point fourth quarter lead, the San Antonio Spurs were forced to battle back against the Detroit Pistons in hanging on for their eighth straight win, 99-95, on Tuesday night at the Palace at Auburn Hills.
Taking their rodeo road trip to Detroit, the Spurs entered the contest against another cellar dweller in the Eastern Conference, with the Pistons on track for their fourth consecutive losing season, having won just eight games this season.
Pistons center Ben Wallace set an NBA record against the Spurs, playing his 1,055th game as an undrafted player. He added to this achievement by nailing a three-pointer, just his seventh in a 16-year career, during Detroit’s second-half rally.
During the last 5:07 of the first quarter, Detroit hit just one-of-10 field goals, allowing the Spurs to go on a 20-6 run and open up a 10-point lead, 32-22, going into the second.
The Pistons countered, however, and led by Tayshaun Prince who had 14 first-half points, went on a 12-3 run to start the second quarter, closing to one, 35-34.
San Antonio then used a 9-0 run to their advantage and took a 55-46 lead into intermission.
The game’s series of runs by both teams continued into the final frame, when Detroit fashioned a 21-4 run, helping erase a 77-62 deficit. A basket by backup guard Ben Gordon with under six minutes to play finally gave Detroit the lead, 84-83, over the sleep-walking Spurs.
The see-saw battle continued until a pivotal moment with under a minute to play. Point guard Tony Parker scored on a teardrop, giving the Spurs a 95-92 lead with 27.2 seconds to play. After a Detroit timeout, Gordon missed a basket, Parker rebounded and was fouled.
Gordon’s barking at the officials over a perceived no-call on his miss earned him a technical. Parker hit the T, and because Detroit was over the team-foul limit, canned the additional two free throws, and the Spurs were up 98-92, with 21 seconds left in the game.
The mental breakdown by Gordon, typical on so many teams with losing records, effectively snuffed Detroit’s comeback, and the Spurs hung on to improve to 20-9. Detroit fell to 8-22.
In a likely understatement, Spurs backup center Tiago Splitter told Spurs Radio after the game, “We relaxed a little bit and the Pistons came on strong. We can’t sleep like that, and of course Pop was mad.” Splitter continued his strong play this season by scoring 13 points and grabbing seven boards against the Pistons.
The Spurs had seven players in double figures, led by Tim Duncan’s 18 points and 13 rebounds, his fifth consecutive double-double. Parker added 14 points with seven assists. Along with Splitter’s 13 points, Richard Jefferson added 13. Kawahi Leonard and Matt Bonner each scored 11 and DeJuan Blair added 10.
The Pistons shot 46 percent from the field against a Spurs defense which had held its last 10 opponents to just 42.3 percent shooting. Also aiding Detroit, the Spurs hit just 21 of 32 free throws.
Rodney Stuckey led all scorers with 23 points while Prince, after 14 first-half points, finished the game with 18. Brandon Knight added 16 and Ben Gordon had 10 points.
More about NBA, San antonio spurs, Detroit pistons, Ben Wallace, Tim duncan
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