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Spurs get reinforcements for Pistons' visit
SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs should be ready and rested when the Detroit Pistons make their only regular-season visit to South Texas on Monday at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs head home after a 90-87 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday in which forwards LaMarcus Aldridge (rest) and Rudy Gay (sore right heel), point guard Tony Parker (return from injury management) and guard Manu Ginobili (coach's decision) did not play.
San Antonio center Pau Gasol sat out the entire second half after playing 16 first-half minutes and scoring five points.
Spurs starting forward Kyle Anderson had to be carried off the floor by his teammates in the final minute of the third quarter after spraining his left knee. Team officials said that Anderson would undergo an MRI exam on Monday.
Defense and rebounding kept San Antonio in the game even with its best players not on the court. The Spurs did not allow Oklahoma City to score nor get an offensive rebound in the final 3:34 and had a shot to tie the game, but Brandon Paul's 3-point attempt just before the buzzer missed the mark.
Dejounte Murray led the Spurs (15-8) with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Davis Bertans added 16 points and five blocks.
"I learned a lot, being out there on the floor at the same time as three All-Stars," Murray said. "Just trying to lead and show the coaches that I'm a point guard. I can lead, I'm learning, I'm getting better, and that's what it's all about -- just getting better every day."
Murray, in his second year with the Spurs out of the University of Washington, played a career-high 39 minutes. He was matched up against reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook and held his own, rallying the Spurs rallied from a 14-point deficit. It was Murray's driving layup with 8:44 left that put San Antonio ahead for the final time, 79-78.
"That's quite an education for a young man to be out there with him, so that was good for him," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Murray's work against Westbrook.
San Antonio guard Derrick White played for the first time since Nov. 2. White, returning from a right wrist fracture that kept him out for 12 games, scored four points.
San Antonio star forward Kawhi Leonard has still not seen the court this season as he recovers from a right quadriceps ailment. There is no timetable for Leonard's return.
Detroit (14-8) travels to the Alamo City after a 108-103 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday. The defeat was the second straight for the Pistons and came despite 27 points from Tobias Harris and 25 from Reggie Jackson.
The Pistons trailed by 18 points in the second half but came back to take a brief lead in the fourth quarter. Detroit was no match for the 76ers down the stretch, however, especially when Andre Drummond fouled out with 2:35 to play.
Philadelphia outrebounded the Pistons 47-36 one night after Detroit had a 15-rebound deficit in a 109-91 loss at Washington. The 76ers had a 17-7 advantage in offensive rebounds and the exact same margin in second-chance points.
"Five of their threes, at least, were off second chances, with the ball coming out," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We've become a bad rebounding team, and we're going to have to change it. We don't rebound the ball.
"It's not a physical thing; it's a mindset thing, and I'm really disappointed. I'm going to be honest. I like the comeback. I like the way we fought. But I don't like that we're not getting consistent energy and effort throughout the game."
Harris said the team has lacked a 48-minute push in its past two games.
"We didn't fold because we really didn't put too much into the first half," Harris said. "So we had to come out and play with some more intensity and more focus. That's what we did tonight, but we've got to put four quarters together."
The Spurs swept both games against Detroit last season and have won 31 of the past 43 games played between the teams in San Antonio.
Updated December 4, 2017