Undermanned San Antonio Spurs defeat injury-plagued Detroit Pistons 123-95 to conclude disappointing campaigns

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Detroit Pistons vs San Antonio Spurs

Sandro Mamukelashvili contributed 18 points as the San Antonio Spurs dominated the Detroit Pistons 123-95 on Sunday, concluding seasons that were less than ideal for both teams but offer hope for better times ahead.

Blake Wesley also chipped in with 17 points for San Antonio, while Zach Collins managed 17 points and nine rebounds before injuring his shoulder early in the second half.

“It was a positive way to end the season,” remarked Spurs point guard Tre Jones. “We showed improvement throughout the year. Each month, we got better as a team, both offensively and defensively.”

Victor Wembanyama, the top pick in the draft and anticipated Rookie of the Year, was absent for San Antonio. Likewise, Detroit was missing Cade Cunningham, the top pick in 2021.

The Pistons (14-68) wrapped up with their worst-ever franchise record, surpassing the previous low of 16-66 set in 1980.

“In my view, we’ve laid the groundwork for the future,” said Detroit coach Monty Williams. “This summer, we need to build on that foundation and see who will be part of it.”

The Spurs (22-60) matched their record from last season, which was the third-worst in franchise history but allowed them to draft Wembanyama.

Detroit Pistons vs San Antonio Spurs (Credits: NBC Sports)

The 7-foot-3 rookie from France exceeded expectations, but San Antonio struggled to capitalize on his success for much of the season.

While they began poorly, including an 18-game losing streak from Nov. 5 to Dec. 15, the Spurs finished with an upward trend, going 11-12 after their annual Rodeo Road Trip and winning seven of their last 11 games.

“We improved over the year,” Wesley noted. “Even through the ups and downs, we continued to play hard and be great teammates. I feel like after the Rodeo Road Trip, we gained a lot of confidence.”

The Spurs’ win, combined with Portland’s 121-82 loss to Sacramento, handed the Trail Blazers the worst record in the West. It also moved the Spurs up to fifth among the league’s worst records, reducing their chances of landing a top-three pick in the NBA Draft.

After an improbable 121-120 victory over the top-seeded Denver on Friday, where they trailed by 23 points, San Antonio continued their late-season surge. Their recent form proved too much for Detroit to handle.

Shooting 54% from the field, with eight players scoring in double figures and recording 33 assists on 49 baskets, the Spurs overwhelmed their opponents.

James Wiseman led Detroit with 21 points, while Marcus Sasser and Jared Rhoden contributed 17 and 16 points, respectively.

Both teams were depleted by injuries for the finale, with Detroit missing Jalen Duren, Simone Fontecchio, Isaiah Stewart, and Ausar Thompson, in addition to Cunningham.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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