Pistons win in Loyer's first game as head coach

AUBURN HILLS (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - For one night at least, the Detroit Pistons responded to a new voice on the bench.

In interim coach John Loyer's first game, the Pistons ran to a 23-point lead in the third quarter tonight before settling for a 109-100 victory before an energetic crowd at the Palace.

It was the first game after the Pistons fired Maurice Cheeks and replaced him with Loyer.

In a strange twist the Pistons (22-29) have won five straight at the Palace and five of their last seven games.

Six players scored in double figures - led by Brandon Jennings' 21 points and six assists. Greg Monroe had 15 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes. Andre Drummond had 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, with bigger fish to fry in the postseason, waived the white flag in the third quarter when he pulled veterans Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. The Spurs are 37-15.

Before the game, Loyer stressed areas the Pistons need improvement - fourth-quarter offense, free-throw shooting and three-point shooting.

He said based on the trust he has gained from three seasons on the Pistons bench would be helpful.

"They know, whether you're a head coach or an assistant coach, one, whether you know your stuff; two, whether you're in it for the right things; three, can you make them better; and four, are you a good leader. Guys figure that out and I'll take my chances with what they've figured out over the last few years."

He also expressed confidence in the roster.

"I think this group can win," Loyer said. "This is who we have. I think, as a coach, that's not even in your day-to-day framework or thought process.

"We coach the team they give us. We think it's a good group. I think it's a group that can be very successful."

Contact Vince Ellis: vellis@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@vincent_ellis56.


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