There’s little doubt now, though, as the Pistons come off another solid game to take on the Bucks on Friday.
Michael Redd scored 37 points as Milwaukee (18-28) attacked Detroit (26-18) for a slew of easy baskets in a 105-97 win on Nov. 1, ending a six-game road losing streak against the Pistons.
Detroit gave up 70 points in the paint, and there was concern about the defense after struggling in its first game since losing Ben Wallace to Chicago in free agency.
The Pistons bounced back, however, and now rank sixth in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 93.9 points per game.
Detroit held an opponent under 90 points for the 17th time Wednesday night, beating the New Jersey Nets 113-89.
It was also the Pistons’ third-best scoring game of the season. Richard Hamilton scored 24 points and Detroit set a team record by hitting 27 consecutive free throws.
“We seem to score when we don’t run,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders told the team’s official Web site. “We are a half-court execution team. We’re almost like a counterpuncher. We see how people defense us and then we take counters off of that. We were able to get the ball to people we needed to in their spots.”
The Pistons are averaging 100.1 points over their last seven games, winning five. They shot 54 percent from the field Wednesday and finished 33-of-38 from the line.
Chauncey Billups was perfect on 12 free throw attempts in scoring 18 points. He had 25 points and made all 12 of his free throws in Detroit’s first game against Milwaukee.
Hamilton has scored 20 or more points in 16 of his last 19 games. He is averaging 28.3 points in his last three games against the Bucks.
Redd is averaging 33.5 points in his last four games versus Detroit, but is expected to miss his 14th straight game with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.
Milwaukee clearly missed Redd’s scoring in a 98-73 loss at Orlando on Wednesday night.
The Bucks have been held to 80 points or less four times since Redd’s injury, and have lost 13 of their last 15 games.
“I have never been through a stretch where we lost so many games and played this badly,” Bucks guard Charlie Bell said. “We’ve got to realize there is still a lot of season to be played and we can make up for it.”
Milwaukee got 23 points from Mo Williams, but shot only 37 percent for the game. The Bucks are 0-16 when shooting under 44.9 percent this season.
Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva made his first start since returning from a shoulder injury four games ago. He had six points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes.