The last time the Detroit Pistons were this good, Isiah Thomas was running the point, Dennis Rodman was patrolling the paint and the “Bad Boys” were on their way to a second straight NBA title.
The Pistons hope to extend their longest winning streak in 13 seasons as they visit the Milwaukee Bucks, who have won their last 10 games at the Bradley Center.
The Pistons won their 11th straight with Friday’s 98-77 home victory over the lowly Washington Wizards. Detroit pulled within two victories of matching the franchise record, established during the 1989-90 season, when Thomas was leading the Pistons to their second straight championship.
“It’s fun to be able to distribute minutes like that when you are in the middle of a tough stretch like this,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said after pulling most of his starters in the second half.
“Coaches are always concerned about games like this—the ones you are supposed to win—but we did a lot of good things tonight.”
Detroit, which will visit defending NBA champion San Antonio and Eastern Conference-leading Indiana after this game, shot 52 percent against the Wizards, and held a 48-34 rebounding advantage.
“We came out and took care of business tonight—that’s what good teams do,” said Chauncey Billups, who finished with 12 points and 10 assists. “It was nice to watch the end from the bench and get some rest before tomorrow.”
The Bucks haven’t lost at home since a 114-109 overtime setback to Washington on Dec. 6. Milwaukee has won seven of its last eight overall, including Thursday’s 86-83 victory over the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets.
“This streak at home has been special to us because we’ve played some tough opponents,” Bucks first-year coach Terry Porter said. “There were many times in those games where we were down, but we never gave up. Every night someone stepped up.”
Milwaukee, which owns the second-best home record in the East, is five games above .500 for the first time this season.
“A lot of people before the season didn’t expect us to win 20 games,” Smith said. “So, that was a motivating factor for us to go out and try to prove everybody wrong.”
The Bucks have won the last three home meetings with Detroit, including an 83-78 victory on Dec. 23.