Jones helps Spurs recover from injury, Pistons recover from skid

SAN ANTONIO – Tre Jones scored 25 points as the San Antonio Spurs overcame injuries to their top two scorers to beat the Detroit Pistons 121-109 on Friday night, ending a three-game drift.

Spurs forward Keldon Johnson did not return from a left hamstring injury with four minutes remaining in the first half. Guard Devin Wassel was out of action with a knee injury.

“I feel like we had to work on it a bit,” Jones said. “It’s been a tumultuous time there, but we’ve had to pull together with the mentality of the next man to do a great job for us to start the new year.”

Despite this absence, the Spurs still managed to extend their lead to double figures in the third quarter thanks to a collective effort.

Romeo Langford added 15 points, Malachi Brannan added 14, and Jacob Poeltle added 11 points and 16 rebounds as San Antonio won for the first time since Dec. 29.

Brennan scored seven points in the Finals at 5:19, including a three-pointer at 2:24 left after Detroit closed 112–104.

“When Malachi hit big, it ended the game,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “He stepped forward. Short hours and he knocked it down. I thought it was pretty good of him.”

With a 122-119 victory over the defending NBA champion Golden State on Wednesday night, Detroit fell short in a battle between two of the league’s worst records.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points and Jayden Ivey added 20 points to the Pistons.

“We didn’t dictate the ball early in the first half,” Ivey said. “Feel like it’s happening early, early in the game, you have to get into rhythm defensively. Literally in the first half, we had some blunders that made them more comfortable in the late game. We have to figure out how to put us in the best defensive position. It hurt us throughout the game.”

Jones scored 12 points in the first half, all in the paint, while shooting 6 for 9 from the field, setting the early tone. He was 11 of 18 from the field, finishing a point short of his career.

Jones added three assists for San Antonio, who had 27 assists on the team.


Pistons: Saddiq Bey remained on the court with his jersey on his face as the Spurs led the game with nine minutes left after the hard screen. Bey climbed onto the court after San Antonio failed to score. He stayed in the game, scoring 10 points in 25 minutes. … Detroit is 6-18 away this season. The Pistons were 10:31 away last season. … Bogdanovich was 2 for 7 on three points, surpassing Baron Davis in career threes. Bogdanovich is 57th in league history with 1,333 3s and Davis is 58th with 1,332.

Spurs: Johnson came into the game averaging 21.6 points, followed by Vassel with 19.4. Tre Jones is third in scoring with a score of 12.8. Johnson finished with eight points in 12 minutes. … F Isaiah Roby started the second half in place of Johnson. Robie averaged 8 minutes playing 11 of Spurs’ 14 games in December. … Jones had 500 assists in his third season and first time as a starter. Tony Parker, Alvin Robertson, Johnny Moore, Johnny Dawkins, Willie Anderson are the only players in franchise history to hit 500 quicker.


Johnson may have injured his hamstring, but his vocal cords are fine.

Johnson cheered from the locker room as the game ended, only getting louder as his teammates entered.

“Summon Tre! Launch Tre! Johnson screamed.

The origin of Jones’ nickname is unknown.

“I don’t know, you should ask Keldon about it,” Jones said with a chuckle. “He yells a lot of crazy things.”


Pistons to host Philadelphia on Sunday

Spurs host Boston on Saturday.


AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports.

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