Originally created 12/26/05

Pistons slay Spurs in Finals rematch

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - In their first matchup since the NBA Finals, Detroit proved dominant in a defensive struggle against San Antonio.

Chauncey Billups scored 20 points as the Pistons held the Spurs to their lowest-scoring first quarter Sunday before winning 85-70, the seventh consecutive victory for Detroit. The Spurs missed 13 of their final 14 shots in the opening period.

The game featuring the defending champion Spurs and the 2004 champion Pistons was the opener in the NBA's annual Christmas doubleheader, lacked the Shaq-Kobe hype of the Miami Heat-Los Angeles Lakers matchup later in the day.

"We're very honored, but we realize it is a great responsibility to play in the JV game," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich joked before the game. "We have to do a good job to make sure the fans stay around to watch the varsity game."

Detroit has won 13 of 14 games and improved to an NBA-best 22-3. The Spurs have lost three of five, but their 21-7 record is the league's second best.

Ben Wallace had 10 points and a season-high 21 rebounds, and reserve Antonio McDyess added 10 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Pistons. Rasheed Wallace scored 14 points and Richard Hamilton had 11.

San Antonio's Tony Parker scored 19 points, and Tim Duncan had 18 points and 11 points.

With Manu Ginobili missing his eighth game in a row with a sprained right foot, Parker and Duncan didn't have much help. Reserve Nazr Mohammed had 10 points, the only other San Antonio player who scored in double figures. Michael Finley, who replaced Ginobili in the starting lineup, had three points on 1-for-7 shooting.

Detroit led by 10 points after holding the Spurs to eight points - their fewest first-quarter points in franchise history and a total that matched their low from any quarter. The Pistons made just 42 percent of their shots, but held the Spurs to 40 percent shooting and outrebounded them 57-30.

Bruce Bowen hounded Hamil-ton, holding him to 4-for-15 shooting.

The Pistons, playing on Christmas for the third time in four years, led 40-30 at halftime.

Faces in the sold-out crowd included Kid Rock, a regular at The Palace, and Eva Longoria, Parker's girlfriend - and she was booed when shown on the video board.


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