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Barry's free throws seal it for San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- With big, bad Ben Wallace back in the lineup,
the Detroit Pistons almost rallied from a big deficit for a big
win.

A bigger night from their big man might've helped.

Wallace returned from a six-game suspension, that resulted from
last month's brawl involving the Pistons, the Indiana Pacers and
fans in Detroit, but he couldn't stop the San Antonio Spurs.

Tony Parker scored 20 points and Brent Barry sank two critical
free throws in the final seconds to send the Spurs to an 80-77 win
over Detroit on Friday night.

"I'm proud of the way we fought back, but the loss hurts,"
said Pistons coach Larry Brown, whose team dropped below .500
(7-8). "To beat this team, coming back from so far down on their
home court would have been huge."

The Pistons nearly pulled off the comeback in a matchup of the
last two NBA champions. Detroit rallied from a 21-point deficit and
got within one of the Spurs, who won the title in 2003.

Chauncey Billups scored all of his 18 points in the fourth
quarter, including a long 3-pointer that cut the Spurs' lead to
78-77 with 7.9 seconds left.

But the Pistons fouled Barry three seconds later and he hit both
free throws for his only points of the night.

Malik Rose then stole the inbounds pass, but missed both free
throws. Rasheed Wallace's desperation 3-pointer sailed over the
backboard at the final buzzer as the Spurs improved to 14-3.

Barry skipped postgame interviews but drew high praise from his
teammates for his clutch shooting. He missed his only free throw of
the first half, and his only playing time of the second half was
his three seconds at the end of the game.

"That's tough to come in like that. He's stone cold," Spurs
center Tim Duncan said.

"If he doesn't make those we probably don't win the game,"
Rose said.

There was definitely more rust than fight in Wallace's game
against the Spurs.

After watching the last six Pistons games from home, the Pistons
center played 33 minutes but had a miserable night. He finished
with five points on 2-of-9 shooting with nine rebounds.

The physically imposing anchor of the Detroit defense under the
basket, Wallace didn't have a rebound in the first quarter. He
barely hit the rim on a free throw, and Duncan posted him up before
throwing down a dunk in the second.

"I've just got to slow down out there," Wallace said. "My
hands are moving faster than my feet."

Even with him struggling, the Pistons surged back from an
11-point deficit in the first quarter to make it 34-33 in the
second before the Spurs closed the half with a 12-4 run.

Rose scored seven in the spurt, and Duncan swished a
buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 46-37 at
halftime. Duncan finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds.

The Spurs seemed to take the Pistons out of it with a 16-5 run
to open the third. Manu Ginobili hit a 3-pointer, Wallace had a
turnover on Detroit's first possession, and Duncan followed a rare
missed dunk with a tip-in bucket.

By then, the Spurs had kicked up the pace, pushing the ball
upcourt after every rebound to score quick buckets in transition.
Parker split Antonio McDyess and Billups with a spinning layup in
the lane that made it 63-42.

That's when the Spurs got sloppy and nearly gave it away with a
rash of turnovers and poor shooting. Billups started heating up and
the Pistons outscored San Antonio 29-17 in the final period. By the
end of the game, the Pistons turned 23 Spurs turnovers into 24
points.

"Duncan hit a tough shot heading into the half and that took
some of the wind out of our sails coming into the third," Billups
said. "That's where we really dug our hole."

Game notes
The Spurs' Ginobili and the Pistons' Carlos Delfino were
teammates on Argentina's gold-medal Olympic team last summer. The
first time Delfino tried to shoot over Ginobili, he air-balled a
3-pointer in the second quarter. ... The Pistons haven't won in San
Antonio since 1997. ... Duncan scored just 12 points when these
teams last met, a Spurs' win last season. This time, he had 12
points and 10 rebounds by halftime.