AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)
San Antonio played without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and the Pistons led by as many as 21 points in the second quarter. It was 65-52 at halftime, and although the Spurs cut the deficit to seven in the fourth, they fell short against a Detroit team that equaled its highest score of the season.
Detroit was without rookie big man Andre Drummond, who is expected to miss four to six weeks because of a stress fracture in his back.
Monroe, the Pistons' starting center, needed little help inside against the Spurs - and Detroit built a sizeable lead in the first half thanks to terrific outside shooting.
San Antonio trailed by 17 after three quarters. The Spurs cut it to 108-101 on a 3-pointer by Leonard, but Knight answered with a 3 of his own.
Later, the Spurs were down by eight with the ball, but Leonard missed and Villanueva made a 3-pointer to make it 116-105.
The Pistons led 27-16 late in the first quarter after Jose Calderon sank a 3-pointer. It was 31-23 after one, and Detroit went 6 of 9 from beyond the arc in the second.
Kyle Singler's 18-footer made it 65-44, but San Antonio scored the last eight points of the half to give itself a reasonable chance at a comeback.
It was 81-72 midway with 3:55 left in the third, and the Spurs looked like they would enter the final quarter very much within striking distance. But this time it was Detroit that finished the period strong, going on a 10-3 run to lead 95-78.
Monroe scored six points during that stretch.
Duncan was shooting around on the court a couple hours before the opening tip, but he missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. Ginobili has missed three in a row with left hamstring tightness.
Duncan has played only twice in San Antonio's last nine games, but the Spurs were able keep winning anyway before falling into too big a hole Friday.
Notes: Detroit went 10 of 22 from 3-point range. San Antonio was 10 of 24.