Although an upcoming homestand is loaded with challenging opponents, the Detroit Pistons will be happy to finish a road-heavy portion of their schedule Wednesday at Milwaukee. The Pistons dropped the first three legs of their current four-game road trip and they are 4-6 overall since beginning a stretch in which they play nine of 11 away from home.
That span began with a 99-95 loss at Milwaukee on Nov. 15, and it continued with Monday’s 96-93 setback at San Antonio. “We’ve got to be able to sustain our offensive energy better,” coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters after the loss. “I probably overplayed guys tonight, but our bench just struggled, I mean they just struggled.” Van Gundy will need more contributions up and down the roster on an upcoming three-game homestand that includes Golden State and Boston, and will need a complete effort against Milwaukee, which won eight of its last 12. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points in the Bucks’ loss to the Celtics on the road Monday night and ranks second in the NBA in scoring with 29.9 points per game.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (14-9): Van Gundy referenced a rocky outing for his reserves, but one bright spot was the play of forward Stanley Johnson, who scored 14 points and grabbed a career high-tying 10 rebounds in his first game off the bench after 19 starts. Anthony Tolliver got the surprise start in Johnson’s place and was held to one basket and one assist in 24 minutes. Guard Reggie Jackson, who was held to a season-low six points in the loss at Milwaukee last month, scored 27 against the Spurs and topped the 20-point mark in four of his last five games.
ABOUT THE BUCKS (12-10): Milwaukee committed just 10 turnovers, shot 87.5 percent from the line and made a respectable 9-of-21 3-pointers in the loss to the Celtics, but their season-long struggles on the boards were an issue. Boston had a 45-28 advantage on the glass and the Bucks managed only three on the offensive end, well below their NBA-worst average of seven per game. Point guard Eric Bledsoe scored at least 18 points in six straight games and is 9-for-18 from 3-point range over his last four contests after going 7-for-34 through his first nine with Milwaukee.
1. Detroit SG Avery Bradley, who is averaging 25.5 points while making 9-of-16 3-pointers in two games against the Bucks, is 8-for 33 from the floor on the road trip.
2. Bucks C John Henson missed all six of his shots at Boston after finishing at 50 percent or better from the floor in each of his previous eight games.
3. Pistons C Andre Drummond has three straight double-doubles and entered Tuesday ranked third in the NBA with 17.
PREDICTION: Bucks 104, Pistons 102