The Detroit Pistons were hoping for a better start coming out of the All-Star break.
The Pistons will try to bounce back from their first loss in 11 games when they visit the woeful Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
The Pistons (39-14) were routed 103-85 by Orlando on Tuesday in their first game after the break. The loss was the first since Jan. 21 - also against the Magic - for Detroit, which trails Boston by three games for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
“We should have played harder than this,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “We didn’t need to come out and lay an egg like that.”
Detroit averaged 97.1 points during its winning streak and outscored its opponents by 10.6 points per game.
“You hate having a break when you are on a winning streak, because it messes with your momentum,” said Chauncey Billups, who managed only nine points on 3-of-13 shooting. “That’s not an excuse, because we feel like we should have come in here and played better than that. No one likes losing like this.”
While Orlando also is a division leader, Detroit’s next opponent isn’t nearly as daunting. Milwaukee (19-34) had hoped to contend for a playoff spot this season, but instead enters the second half in last place in the Central Division.
The Pistons have won five straight and 10 of 12 against the Bucks. In the first two meetings this season, Detroit averaged 115.5 points and outscored Milwaukee by an average of 35.5.
Tayshaun Prince averaged 20.0 points in those two games for the Pistons.
The Bucks dropped their last four games heading into the break, including the first three of a four-game homestand. They have lost four in a row for the fourth time this season, but have not dropped five straight since a seven-game slide from March 21-April 3.
Making matters worse, coach Larry Krystkowiak has expressed concern that his players are complaining about playing time, and has been dealing with rumors that two of his starters got into a heated exchange during a team meeting last week.
“We’re going to be OK,” said Krystkowiak, who is in his first full season as coach. “There’s negativity floating around, but it’s contrary to what is (really) floating around. It’s a solid group.”
Michael Redd had 30 points in Milwaukee’s 111-107 loss to New Orleans last Wednesday. Rookie Yi Jianlian posted his second straight 13-point performance after failing to break double figures in his previous nine games.
“If we can be consistent, on the same page, which is what we’re definitely capable of doing, we’ll be in good shape,” said center Andrew Bogut, who is averaging a career-best 13.4 points and 8.9 rebounds. “But, we’re a long way from it.”