Bucks overcome Drummond, Pistons
MILWAUKEE — Another night, another close loss for the Detroit Pistons, whose losing streak reached a season-high four games after falling 104-100 to Milwaukee Wednesday night at the Bradley Center.
“We knew this stretch was coming,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We didn’t do enough of the little things (tonight). We gave up free throw rebounds, two of them, we had screw-ups on out-of-bounds plays on defense. Simple stuff that’s easy to do but we didn’t take care of.”
Andre Drummond led Detroit (14-10) with 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting and Tobias Harris hit 8 of 14, including four 3-pointers to finish with 21.
But the Pistons shot only 41.4 percent as a team and missed nine of 27 attempts from the free throw line, more than enough to cover the final deficit.
“What are you going to do,” Van Gundy asked, rhetorically.
Detroit has lost seven of its last 11, starting with a 99-95 setback at Milwaukee last month.
“We just need to keep our head up,” Drummond said. “We can’t allow these losses to get us down. It’s a long season and we’ve had a lot of success early in the year. This stretch is done, it happened. What we do with this
rough patch is ong to really show our character.
“We just need to continue to play hard and stay ready.”
Defensively, Detroit couldn’t contain Milwaukee’s Big Three of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton. All three surpassed the 20-point mark, with Antetokounmpo’s 25 leading the way.
The trio combined to go 24—for-47 from the floor as the Bucks (13-10) connected at a 49.4 percent clip and made eight of 22 from beyond the arc.
“It’s a team game,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “I thought our bench did a really good job of responding this evening.”
Milwaukee’s bench as been depleted by the trade of Greg Monroe to the Suns as well as injuries to Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic and now Jason Terry over the last few weeks, leaving Kidd with few options.
But Rashad Vaughn made the most of his opportunity, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 11 points with two assists and a steal in 17 minutes of work.
“With a couple of guys down, some guys who don’t really play as much have to step up. I answered when my name was called.”
Thirteen early points from Antetokounmpo got Milwaukee off to a good start. The Bucks hit 11 of 18 shots in the opening quarter and held Detroit to 30 percent shooting in the second to go up 60-51 at halftime.
Detroit (14-10) took its first lead of the night on Harris’ corner 3-pointer from with 6:09 left in the third, capping off a 16-4 run that made it 67-66.
It stayed close from there. After Detroit fell behind by three, Drummond put the Pistons back in front with a short hook, but Milwaukee tied the game at 76 heading into the fourth. The Bucks opened the final quarter with an 8-1 run to go up 85-77 with 8:17 left.
Milwaukee led by as many as 13 down the stretch, but 3-pointers from Harris and Reggie Jackson (14 points) got the Pistons within three with less than a minute left. After Bledsoe put back his own miss, Bradley knocked down a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to cut the deficit to 99-97, but Middleton and Bledsoe combined to hit five free throws in the final seconds.
“We’re just staying with it,” Middleton said. “We did a great job of holding onto the lead. We have just been grinding it out and staying with it. We just have to keep it up.”
NOTES: Bucks G Jason Terry strained his left calf earlier in the week, and will be out for approximately two weeks, according to coach Jason Kidd. Terry has appeared in 10 games this season, averaging 1.5 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.6 assists in 11 minutes. ... Milwaukee was also without G/F Mirza Teletovic (knee surgery) and PG Matthew Dellavedova, who is getting closer to returning from a bout of tendinitis in his left knee. ... The Pistons have lost six of their last seven meetings with the Bucks in Milwaukee, including two games this season. ... Detroit C Andre Drummond is averaging 21.3 points and 17.0 rebounds against Milwaukee this season.