AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Brandon Jennings scored 21 points, and the Detroit Pistons beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-100 on Monday night in John Loyer’s first game as interim coach.
Detroit abruptly fired Maurice Cheeks on Sunday after only 50 games as coach, but although they’ve been unimpressive for the most part this season, the Pistons have played better lately. The comfortable win over the Spurs was Detroit’s fifth in seven games.
Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points for the Pistons, and Greg Monroe added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Marco Belinelli led the Spurs with 20 points.
Detroit pulled even with Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
ROCKETS 107, TIMBERWOLVES 89
MINNEAPOLIS — Dwight Howard had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and the surging Houston Rockets used a fourth-quarter push to hold off the Minnesota Timberwolves for their sixth consecutive victory.
Chandler Parsons had 20 points and James Harden scored 19 for the Rockets, who have won six straight for the first time since taking seven in a row from Jan. 13-23, 2012.
Back after missing one game with a bruised left quadriceps, Kevin Love led Minnesota with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
Chase Budinger finished with 15 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost four straight and six of seven.
PACERS 119, NUGGETS 80
INDIANAPOLIS — David West scored 25 points and Roy Hibbert added 14 as the Indiana Pacers routed the short-handed Denver Nuggets.
Indiana snapped a five-game skid in the series, beating the Nuggets for the first time since a 31-point blowout in November 2010. The Pacers (40-11) still have the NBA’s best record, the league’s best home record (25-2) and now lead two-time defending champion Miami by four games in the Eastern Conference.
Wilson Chandler scored 17 points to lead the Nuggets, who have lost three straight. They played without several injured players, including Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson.
RAPTORS 108, PELICANS 101
TORONTO — Kyle Lowry had 19 points and 12 assists, Patrick Patterson scored a season-high 22 and the Toronto Raptors beat the New Orleans Pelicans for their third straight victory.
DeMar DeRozan also had 22 points, Terrence Ross added 14 and Tyler Hansbrough scored 12 for Toronto, which has won five consecutive meetings and seven of eight against New Orleans. The first-place Raptors moved three games ahead of Brooklyn in the Atlantic Division by winning for the ninth time in 11 home games.
Tyreke Evans had 23 points and 10 assists, and Anthony Davis scored 19 for the Pelicans, who lost their second straight and have dropped four consecutive games in Toronto.
CELTICS 102, BUCKS 86
MILWAUKEE — Jeff Green scored 29 points and Kelly Olynyk added 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Boston Celtics pulled away from the Milwaukee Bucks in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics used a 12-4 run to start the final quarter to break open what had been a tight game. Green had seven points during the spurt and 11 overall in the quarter, while Olynyk scored 10 after Boston entered the fourth clinging to a 70-68 lead.
Jared Sullinger added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Boston.
Brandon Knight had 22 points for Milwaukee, which also got 17 points from Gary Neal and 16 points from John Henson before he left late in the game with an ankle injury.
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