One night after Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders won in an emotional return to his old home court, he returns to his current home trying to keep the good times going.
The Pistons can equal their longest winning streak of the season with their ninth straight victory as they host the Milwaukee Bucks. Detroit also won nine in a row from Dec. 14-29.
One-time Minnesota Timberwolves guard Chauncey Billups had 27 points, eight assists and eight rebounds Tuesday as Detroit won its eighth straight game, 107-83 at Minnesota. Saunders coached the Timberwolves for 10 seasons from 1995-2005.
“It was nice,” said Saunders, who was cheered loudly before tipoff. “Coaches do like those kind of games.”
Billups scored 24 of his 27 points in the second half and made 9 of 13 field goal attempts after halftime. He outscored the Timberwolves all by himself 18-13 in the third quarter.
“A lot of his shots, I don’t know what else we could have done but tackle him,” Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said.
“That’s one of the best teams I’ve seen assembled, from top to bottom,” said Casey. “You saw the potential NBA champions in the second half.”
This is just the fifth game against a Central Division opponent this season for the Pistons, who are 3-1 against Central rivals.
The Bucks scored a season-low in an 85-76 home loss Nov. 26 to the Pistons. Detroit also defeated Milwaukee 99-73 in their final meeting of last season on April 15 at Auburn Hills, Mich. The Pistons have held the Bucks to fewer than 100 points in 11 consecutive meetings.
Milwaukee’s offense also struggled Monday night in a 97-80 defeat against Houston. The Bucks missed 17 consecutive shots at one point and went scoreless for a nine-minute stretch of the third quarter while the Rockets scored 19 points. Tracy McGrady led all scorers with 41.
“That’s what Houston wanted to do; keep it close, get to the fourth quarter and have McGrady take over,” Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. “Offensively, it’s tough when the ball doesn’t go in.”
Michael Redd led the Bucks with 21 points but shot just 7-for-17 from the floor and failed to reach 25 points for the first time in seven games. Redd accounted for 23 of Milwaukee’s 76 points in the earlier meeting with Detroit this season.
The Bucks are 1-10 this season when scoring fewer than 90 points.