SAN ANTONIO -- Who needs an MVP candidate?
Apparently the Spurs are just fine without theirs.
With news still fresh that point guard Tony Parker is out for a month with a sprained ankle, the Spurs gave the Pistons their worst beating since 2002.
Sunday night's 114-75 drubbing might be one of the franchise's most embarrassing moments in the last few years of many lowlights.
Say what you want about the John Kuester years, but the former Pistons coach never lost a game by 39 points.
Brandon Knight, who was probably one of the few Pistons who competed -- although he did struggle, was visibly irritated during the course of the game.
He explained his emotions afterward.
"I'll never be irritated at my teammates; it's more so at the lack of respect for us playing. Not only them, but myself, we have to play hard just to give ourselves a shot to win against one of the best teams in the NBA.
"You can't come out and lollygag and half play through stuff. You got to come out and play hard. Just from the beginning we didn't really give ourselves a chance to win by playing hard. Once you play hard, you put yourselves in position to win games."
The Pistons (23-39) probably would have taken a thumping from the Spurs, owners of the league's best record, even if they were at their most energetic.
But this lethargic bunch had no chance.
"We don't have a margin for error when you're playing the best team in the league," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "We're definitely capable of doing better, and we've shown it."
Frank was talking about the Pistons' 119-109 victory over the Spurs (47-14) earlier this season. But the Spurs didn't have Manu Ginobili that time.
On Sunday, the game turned as soon as Ginobili checked in. He hit his first six shots and his four-point play to end the first quarter gave the Spurs a 32-19 lead. And the lead steadily grew the entire game. He finished with 17 points.
The recurring theme of poor defensive stretches featuring half-hearted attempts to get back was in full view once again. Frank has harped on that after every loss since the All-Star break.
This is the time of year when the NBA's best start jelling toward the postseason and the league's worst start wondering about exotic locales for the coming vacation in April.
Just take a look at some of the margins of victory just from this weekend's slate of games. The Spurs did the same thing to the Kings by 28 on Friday night, the Rockets clowned Dallas by 33 on Sunday and the Grizzlies blasted the Magic by 26.
The schedule doesn't offer much solace for the Pistons. The Knicks, their main tormentor this season, visit Wednesday. And they head west Saturday for four road games against Western Conference foes, who have a 19-4 record against the Pistons.
So things can get worse.
Will Bynum was asked if Sunday was a low point of the season and he said: "There's still a lot of games left. I can't tell you that."
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