Rasheed Wallace picked up his 18th technical foul for complaining to the officials in Detroit’s 90-89 loss at San Antonio on Friday. He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, but earned his second one-game suspension this month with the technical.
Wallace was suspended for Detroit’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on March 11 after receiving his 16th technical of the season. According to NBA policy, every other technical after 16 results in a one-game suspension.
“I wish they would review the whole 48 (minutes),” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “If they’re going to give him a ‘T’ for that, there should have been about four others called at least.”
Though Milwaukee (25-42) is near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and without Andrew Bogut (left foot) and Charlie Villanueva (shoulder) for the rest of the season, the conference-leading Pistons (43-25) can’t afford to be short-handed.
Cleveland has won nine of 11 to cut Detroit’s lead in the East and the Central Division to 1 1/2 games. The Pistons, who lost three in a row from Dec. 27-31, have dropped three of four since sweeping a five-game Western road trip from March 9-16.
Wallace, averaging 12.6 points and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds, led the way Friday as Richard Hamilton was held below his 20.3 scoring average for a fifth straight game. Hamilton had just 16 points and missed two free throws in the final minute.
For the second game in a row, the Pistons fell short in a comeback attempt. Detroit trailed by 17 after three quarters in a 91-85 loss at Houston on Thursday and by 10 after three against San Antonio.
“It’s very frustrating to lose a game like this especially when you know we can beat a team like the Spurs,” Chauncey Billups told the team’s official Web site. “We have to take up for our losses and play harder in the next game. We had a good spurt late in the game but it wasn’t good enough.”
Billups played 24 minutes and scored 13 points for the second straight game after missing two with a strained groin.
“Chauncey is still trying to get into his rhythm,” said Saunders, whose team is 5-for-30 from 3-point range in its last two games.
Billups is averaging 21.3 points in three games against Milwaukee this season. Detroit has won two of those matchups and is looking to sweep the two games in Milwaukee for the first time since 1996-97.
Milwaukee suffered its first loss in three games since Larry Krystkowiak took over as coach after Terry Stotts was fired on March 14, falling 104-103 to the Clippers on Wednesday. The Bucks rallied from a 22-point third-quarter deficit, but lost after the Clippers’ Jason Hart hit the game-winner with 3 seconds left.
“Did we deserve to win the game for three quarters? Probably not,” Krystkowiak said. “Were we in position to pull it off and be on SportsCenter? Yeah.”
Michael Redd scored 27 points Wednesday and is averaging 28.2 in his last five games. Redd had 37 points in Milwaukee’s 105-97 win over Detroit on Nov. 1, but had 17 in the Bucks’ 84-83 loss to the Pistons on Feb. 20 as he returned after missing 20 games with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.