Bucks-Pistons Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 30, 2012
The Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons are both feeling good coming off wins over the reigning NBA champions, but one team will lose to a far less decorated opponent Sunday night when the Central Division rivals meet at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Milwaukee (16-12) used a dominant fourth quarter to defeat Miami 104-85 on Saturday, outscoring the Heat 35-14 over the final 12 minutes. The Bucks shot just 40.8 percent from the field but matched a season low with six turnovers - none by Brandon Jennings, who finished with 25 points, seven assists and four steals. The Pistons (10-22) beat Miami 109-99 on Friday for their third victory in four games, but this one felt a bit different considering the previous two came against NBA-worst Washington following a six-game losing streak. It helped that the Heat were playing without Dwyane Wade, but that hardly made the performance of Will Bynum and the Pistons' bench any less impressive. Detroit's reserves outscored Miami's 64-20, one game after they contributed 85 points in a 126-119 double-overtime loss at Atlanta. Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists Friday after scoring 31 against the Hawks, combining to shoot 23 of 42 (54.8 percent) in those games. Those numbers are even more stunning considering the healthy guard didn't even play in 10 contests during a recent 12-game stretch, last sitting out Dec. 19 at Toronto. "Will kind of got squeezed in the rotation," coach Lawrence Frank said. "Had several DNPs, stayed the course, and he deserves all the credit." He got plenty from the reigning NBA MVP. "He was amazing," LeBron James said. "He controlled the game with his motor and his offense. He was hitting everything and he was getting everyone else involved. We couldn't do anything with him." Rookie Andre Drummond had his third double-double in four games with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and former Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva added 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He's averaged 17.0 points while hitting 11 of 20 from 3-point range in his last three contests. Villanueva missed all four of the Pistons' meetings with Milwaukee last season with ankle problems. Jennings averaged 22.0 points as the Bucks won three of those. Milwaukee has won three of its last four on the road thanks in large part to stifling defense. Its opponents are averaging 89.5 points and 20.0 turnovers while shooting 39.8 percent in those games. That doesn't even include the shutdown of the Heat, who posted their second-lowest point total of the season and matched their 2012-13 high with 21 turnovers. The Bucks turned those into 25 points. "There's no secret by now," coach Scott Skiles said. "When we're up and down the floor and creating the pace we like to play at, most times we look like a pretty good club. When we're kind of deliberate, when the shot clock starts winding down, we're not near as good." It's unclear if Detroit will have Rodney Stuckey available after he missed Friday's game with a sprained ankle. Stuckey ranks among the NBA's top 10 with 13.2 points per game when coming off the bench.
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