Brandon Jennings scored 21 points, and the Detroit Pistons beat the San Antonio Spurs, 109-100, on Monday night in Auburn Hills, Mich., in John Loyer’s first game as interim coach.
Detroit abruptly fired Maurice Cheeks 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.
‘‘I told them it was going to be an emotional day,’’ Loyer said. ‘‘I told them I thought we can play, collectively, for longer periods of time better than we have.
‘‘I only thought there was about a three-minute period where they showed more energy, more determination than us. You show determination, hustle for 45 of the 48 minutes, you’re going to be pretty successful most nights.’’
Loyer’s sideline demeanor was quite a change from Cheeks’s more calm approach.
At one point, Loyer came all the way across midcourt to give instructions as the Pistons were trying to hold on.
‘‘They’re both two different coaches,’’ Jennings said. ‘‘One is loud, the other one is kind of laid-back. They’re both great guys — especially Cheeks. He’s like a father figure to me, so he’s definitely going to be missed. But this is the NBA, so I know how that goes.’’
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.
Pacers 119, Nuggets 80 — David West scored 25 points and Roy Hibbert added 14 as Indiana routed visiting Denver.
The Pacers 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 and J.J. Hickson added 12 to lead the Nuggets, who have lost three straight and played without several injured players, including Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson, and Ty Lawson.
Warriors 123, 76ers 80 — Marreese Speights scored a career-high 32 points to hand his former a team a near-record setback, leading Golden State past Philadelphia in Oakland, Calif.
After losing, 123-78, at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night in a game they trailed by 56 points in the third quarter, Philadelphia figured it couldn’t get much worse. It almost did.
Speights finished 12-of-15 shooting, and Stephen Curry added 23 points to help the Warriors go ahead by 49 points in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia nearly matched the Pistons’ mark for the largest total margin of defeat in consecutive games. The Pistons lost by 95 points in back-to-back games in November 1966, according to STATS.
Raptors 108, Pelicans 101 — Kyle Lowry had 19 points and 12 assists, Patrick Patterson scored a season-high 22 points, and host Toronto beat New Orleans for its third straight victory.
DeMar DeRozan also had 22 points, Terrence Ross added 14, and Tyler Hansbrough scored 12 for Toronto. 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 points for the Pelicans, who lost their second straight and have dropped four consecutive games in Toronto.
Rockets 107, Timberwolves 89 — Dwight Howard totaled 18 points and 15 rebounds, and surging Houston used a fourth-quarter push to hold off host Minnesota for its sixth consecutive victory.
Chandler Parsons had 20 points and James Harden 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, All-Star Kevin Love led Minnesota with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Chase Budinger had 15 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost four straight and six of seven.