Despite spending 2 ½ seasons as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons, John Loyer had never set foot in the post-game interview room.

It’s a long walk from the coach’s office and Loyer joked Monday night that he might not feel like making the trek after losses.

That wasn’t a problem in his first game as interim coach of the Pistons as they extended their Palace winning streak to five with a 109-100 victory over the Western Conference power San Antonio Spurs.

The Pistons (22-29) played with pace and energy and out-hustled the Spurs (37-15) for most of the evening – although the Spurs were without Tiago Splitter, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard because of energy.

Led by Brandon Jennings’ 21 points and six assists, the Pistons ran to a 23-point lead in third quarter before settling for the nine-point victory.

“I told the guys today, just when we were in the locker room, I’m so proud of them,” Loyer said. “I only thought there was a three-minute period to 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. So I told the guys I thought that was the big key.”

Loyer replaces Maurice Cheeks, who was fired Sunday after only 50 games. He came to Detroit before the 2011-12 season as part of former head coach Lawrence Frank’s staff. He was retained when Cheeks was hired last off-season.

Jennings continued his recent hot streak. He is averaging 24.6 points, 8.8 assists and is shooting 43% over his last five games.

Before the game, Loyer stressed areas the Pistons need improvement — fourth-quarter offense, free-throw shooting and three-point shooting.