PAUL SANCYA / AP Enlarge
AUBURN HILLS, Mich Michael Curry was quite happy with the way his team defended Tim Duncan last night.
That s why the rookie Detroit Pistons coach was so impressed that Duncan finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds in San Antonio s 83-79 victory.
It says a lot about Tim Duncan that we can say he didn t have a great game when he had 18 and 18, Curry said. People aren t going to fully appreciate what a great player they re watching until he retires. He just goes out there and does that game after game.
Duncan had seven points and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter, helping the Spurs break a three-game road losing streak.
Tim is the base to everything we do, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. He rebounded and he got some buckets, and that s what we needed.
Tony Parker added 19 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who are 4-3 on an eight-game trip.
This was tough, but we ll take it, because we needed a win, Parker said.
The Pistons dropped to 2-10 at home in the last six weeks, and face a road trip that includes games at Boston, Cleveland, New Orleans and Orlando.
We lost again, point guard Rodney Stuckey said. I don t know. I really can t explain anything anymore. We just keep losing, and now we ve got some great teams to play.
Allen Iverson led all scorers with 31 points, and Antonio McDyess added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
San Antonio led 64-58 going into the fourth, and although the Pistons got as close as three, George Hill s fast-break dunk made it 73-66 with 6:35 left.
Detroit rallied again, and Iverson s jumper pulled the Pistons within 78-77 with three minutes to play. Two stops gave the Pistons a pair of chances to take the lead, and Iverson took advantage of the second with a layup with 1:21 to go.
Rasheed Wallace fouled Parker, who gave San Antonio a 80-79 lead from the line, and Iverson missed at the other end. McDyess hurdled the Spurs bench to save the rebound, but Michael Finley grabbed the loose ball.
Parker s jumper bounced off the rim, and Wallace grabbed the rebound with 28 seconds left, but missed a fadeaway over Duncan.
Bruce Bowen grabbed the rebound, and was fouled while frantically trying to call a timeout. Despite coming into the game shooting 47 percent from the line, he hit both shots to make it 82-79 with 9.7 seconds left.
Iverson missed a tying 3-pointer and Duncan clinched the game from the free-throw line.