AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Marcus Morris scored 24 points, and the Detroit Pistons took advantage of Kevin Durant’s absence in an 88-82 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
The Thunder rested Durant and Serge Ibaka, and Oklahoma City was held to only nine points in the third period en route to its lowest-scoring game of the season. The Thunder rallied from a 15-point deficit, closing the gap to just one in the fourth, but Detroit was able to hold on late for another victory in its push for a playoff spot.
The Thunder had their eight-game winning streak snapped. Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 24 points on 8-of-28 shooting.
Andre Drummond had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, and Tobias Harris added 17 points.
The Pistons came into the night with a 2 1/2-game lead in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and the victory Tuesday actually moved them into seventh place, a half-game ahead of Indiana. Detroit trailed 48-46 at halftime before outscoring the Thunder 25-9 in the third quarter.
The Pistons led 68-53 after a 20-2 run, but Oklahoma City rallied in the fourth. Detroit led 75-74 before consecutive baskets by Morris and Reggie Jackson pushed the lead back to five. It was 79-77 after a 3-pointer by Westbrook, but Drummond made a free throw and Jackson slipped free for a dunk.
Another 3-pointer by Westbrook made it 84-82 with 8.8 seconds left, but Jackson made two free throws at the other end, and the Pistons were able to close out the victory.
The Thunder were held 28 points below their previous season scoring average. Westbrook missed his first six shots from the field and finished the first quarter 1 of 9. Detroit had assists on its first eight field goals and led 25-21 after the first.
Thunder: Oklahoma City fell to 6-8 in the second game of back-to-back stretches. … The Thunder’s previous season low was 85 points against Boston on Nov. 15.
Pistons: Detroit has one game left in a nine-game homestand. The Pistons are 6-2 so far.
Thunder: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
Pistons: Host Dallas on Friday night.