Milwaukee (5-9) at Detroit (5-10)

By MATT BEARDMORE, STATS Writer Thursday, Nov 25, 2010 Tipoff: 7:30 pm EST Fri Nov 26, 2010

The Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the top defensive teams in the NBA this season, but putting the ball in the basket continues to be an issue.

The Detroit Pistons are hoping a return home can help them solve a host of problems.

The Bucks look to avoid their first five-game losing streak since 2008-09 when they open their season series with the Pistons on Friday night.

While Milwaukee (5-9) is limiting opponents to a league-low 90.5 points and 42.8 percent shooting per game, it is scoring an NBA-worst 90.6 points on 40.9 percent from the field.

Coach Scott Skiles wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort on either end during an 83-81 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday. The Bucks shot 37.8 percent (31 of 82) overall and were outscored 49-37 after halftime - 31-24 in the third quarter.

“We were a little bit soft on both ends,” said Skiles, whose team’s last five-game skid was March 18-28, 2009. “They got back in it. We have to assume just because we’re up, we’re not going to blow them out. When plays need to be made and when we really need to execute, we’re just kind of milling around and not being real professional about it.

“As a result, we’re 5-9 and that’s one of the main reasons why.”

Detroit is 5-10, due in large part to its poor play in the third quarter. The Pistons are shooting a league-worst 38.9 percent during that period and averaging 21.1 points.

Leading by three at halftime, Detroit was outscored 33-18 in the third during a 105-84 loss at Memphis on Wednesday. Pistons opponents are shooting 49.7 percent in that quarter.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting us more prepared going into that third period,” coach John Kuester told the team’s official website. “We had that edge going into the Dallas game (an 88-84 loss Tuesday). I thought we competed for four quarters. We didn’t compete for four quarters tonight.”

Detroit, which has dropped four of five, will try for a complete effort Friday as it opens a stretch of four of six at home.

Milwaukee, loser of three road games by four points or fewer, won 91-85 in its last visit to Auburn Hills on Feb. 19. Despite shooting 38.3 percent, the Bucks earned a split of the four-game season series behind a team-high 19 points from John Salmons(notes), who was making his Milwaukee debut.

Andrew Bogut(notes) had 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks while former Piston Carlos Delfino(notes) had 16 points and six assists in the matchup, but both will likely be unavailable Friday. Bogut missed Wednesday’s contest with back spasms while Delfino has been sidelined the last seven games with a neck strain.

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings(notes) will try to get back on track after shooting 25.5 percent (12 of 47) in the last three contests and having Mo Williams(notes) hit the winning shot over him Wednesday. Jennings was 7 for 33 from the floor in two games at Detroit last season, going 1 for 13 on Feb. 19.

Pistons leading scorer Rodney Stuckey(notes) averaged 15.8 points and 7.3 assists versus Milwaukee in 2009-10.

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Friday, Nov 26