Spurs, Pistons look to end season on winning note

The San Antonio Spurs and the visiting Detroit Pistons look to finish their respective campaigns on a winning note when they square off on Sunday afternoon in the season finale for both teams.The Spurs (21-60), tied for last place in the Western Conference, and the Pistons (14-67), the bottom dweller in the East, have long been eliminated from the postseason. But they both enter Sunday’s dustup after winning their penultimate games, with San Antonio beating West-leading Denver at home and Detroit easily handling short-handed, playoff-bound Dallas on the road.The Spurs’ 121-120 win over Denver on Friday was as stunning for how it was accomplished as much as for whom San Antonio defeated. Little-used reserve Devonte’ Graham, pressed into service because of injuries to four of the Spurs’ starters, hit a running jumper with 0.9 seconds left to cap an 11-2 surge over the final minutes to produce the victory over the defending NBA champions.Likely league rookie of the year Victor Wembanyama finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks to lead the Spurs. The performance was highlighted when he scored 17 points in less than three minutes in the third quarter in which he had four 3-pointers and a three-point play.Sandro Mamukelashvili added a season-high 21 points to go with 12 rebounds, Zach Collins had 15 points, Tre Jones and Julian Champagnie hit for 14 apiece and Graham tallied 11 for San Antonio.”As a growing team, young team, it’s big for us,” Wembanyama said after the win. “And yes, we’re going to need these kind of wins in the future. We’re going to need any win, but big-time wins against big teams, first seeds. We’re going to need those in the future.”The Spurs have won two of their past three games and six of their last 10. A win on Sunday combined with a loss by Portland would elevate San Antonio from the West cellar for the first time all season.Detroit will not avoid a last-place finish in the East even if it beats the Spurs on Sunday. But the Pistons could take some bragging rights into the offseason, with part of that scenario set up by their 107-89 win over Dallas on Friday.