Belinelli, balanced Spurs beat Pistons

San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, left, of Italy, slaps the ball away from Detroit Pistons forward Kyle Singler, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 120-110. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, left, of Italy, slaps the ball away from Detroit Pistons forward Kyle Singler, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 120-110. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Marco Belinelli had 20 points to lead eight San Antonio players in double figures, and the Spurs worked through a lethargic start to beat the Detroit Pistons 120-110 on Wednesday night.

Kawhi Leonard had 15 points in his return from a 14-game absence due to a broken finger. Manu Ginobili scored 16 points, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter had 13 apiece, Boris Diaw added 12, Patty Mills 11 and Cory Joseph 10.

Josh Smith scored 24 points for Detroit, which has lost three straight. Will Bynum added 18 points, Rodney Stuckey 17 and Andre Drummond had 16 points and 17 rebounds.

San Antonio (41-16) got off to a sloppy start despite having two practices during a five-day break following its annual Rodeo Road Trip that lasted nearly a month.

The Spurs had 11 turnovers in the opening half, leading to 13 points and some pointed coaching by Gregg Popovich.

“What the heck are you guys doing?” Popovich screamed during a timeout following consecutive turnovers.

In the second half, San Antonio returned to the crisp ball movement that became a staple of its early victories. The Spurs had 10 assists in the third quarter while shooting 12 for 19 from the field.

Leonard had the initial assist of the quarter, leaping over a fallen defender to throw a bounce pass that Duncan gathered for a running slam ahead of Smith.

San Antonio went on a 17-6 run beginning midway through the third to take an 85-75 lead with 2 minutes left in the quarter.

Belinelli had seven points in the run and Ginobili added five points and assisted on two of Belinelli’s baskets.

Belinelli returned the favor later, drawing Kyle Singler away defensively on a fast break and dishing to Ginobili for an open layup that gave San Antonio a 111-99 lead with 3:36 remaining in the game.

Leonard missed his first two tries from the field, coming up a foot short on a 16-foot attempt from the right corner on the game’s opening shot. He was credited with a follow of a missed free throw that Drummond appeared to tip in.

Leonard followed with a 3-pointer and threw down a right-handed dunk on Smith off an alley-oop pass from Joseph. Leonard grabbed the brace on his right hand after the dunk, but quickly rose to race back on defense.

NOTES: Popovich had lunch with former President Bill Clinton, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and former mayor Henry Cisneros. Clinton was in town to celebrate Cisneros being honored with the International Citizen Award from the World Affairs Council of San Antonio. … Ginobili’s left foot burst through the bottom of his sneaker as he planted while guarding Stuckey, leaving the shoe dangling from his ankle as if it had been unzipped. Popovich had the Spurs call a timeout to check on Ginobili, who shrugged when asked what happened. A ball boy quickly raced to the locker room to get a replacement in time for Ginobili to return to the court. … Detroit is averaging an NBA-best 52.3 points in the paint this season. The Pistons had 54 against the Spurs. … San Antonio F Austin Daye apparently has yet to make an impression on the Spurs since being acquired a week ago in a trade with Toronto. “I don’t know much about him, honestly,” Duncan said. “Looks like he’s working hard; don’t know what he brings to the table. Honestly. We’ll see what he turns into. Obviously the physique is there — big, long, tall … extremely long. We’ll see what he brings.”

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