The defending Eastern Conference champions appeared poised to improve to 10-1 and win their second straight since their lone loss of the season before the Washington Wizards rallied to force two overtimes before pulling out a 120-114 victory Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Detroit lost for the first time this season when scoring at least 100 points. Rasheed Wallace led the Pistons with a season-high 33 points and 11 rebounds, but Ben Wallace missed a potential winning free throw with 0.6 seconds left in the first overtime.
“It’s a tough one,” he said, “but we had our opportunities to win it. We just let it slip away.”
The Pistons haven’t lost consecutive games since Game 1 and 2 of last season’s NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs. The last time they dropped back-to-back games in the regular season was a three-game skid from March 22-25.
The Bucks have lost three of four, including a 99-91 setback Friday to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Michael Redd scored 28 points and Jamaal Magliore had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, which appeared to take control of the game during a 12-4 third-quarter run during which Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett suffered a cut on his chin.
But Garnett got six stitches, returned, and the Bucks wilted thereafter, going 3-5 since opening the season with three straight wins.
“We had control most of the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it at the end,” Redd said.
The Bucks have failed to reach 100 points in five of their last six games after opening the season with four consecutive 100-point efforts.
Milwaukee has played well at home this season, winning three of its first four at the Bradley Center while scoring at least 100 points in each of those games.
The Pistons are also trying to bounce back from their first road defeat, a 119-82 loss Saturday to the Dallas Mavericks that ended Detroit’s 8-0.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 25): Pistons - 1st place, Central Division. Bucks - 4th place, 3 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Pistons - Hamilton, 21.5 ppg; Ben Wallace, 11.5 rpg; Billups, 8.6 apg. Bucks - Redd, 26 ppg; Magloire, 9.3 rpg; Ford, 7.9 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
LAST MEETING: April 15; Pistons, 99-73. At Auburn Hills, Mich., Ronald Dupree scored a career-high 20 points as the Pistons earned a split of the season series. Desmond Mason led the Bucks with 15 points.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pistons - 5-1 on the road; Bucks - 3-1 at home.