AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Even though the new boss wasn’t in attendance, the Detroit Pistons did their best to make a good first impression.
The victory, hours after players and coaches learned the team will be sold to billionaire California investor Tom Gores, guaranteed the Pistons a winning home record.
Wilcox, plagued with injuries for much of the season, scored 19 points in the second half and grabbed five of the team’s 15 offensive rebounds.
“We don’t run a lot of plays for our bigs right now,” Detroit coach John Kuester said. “He did a good job getting second-chance opportunities.”
The soon-to-be free agent ended the night in double figures for the third straight game.
“I’ve started to feel a little better and things are working out for me,” Wilcox said. “Guys have recognized that and they’re getting me the ball.”
Detroit led 55-51 at halftime and went on an 11-2 run early in the third quarter to push the advantage to double digits. Milwaukee trailed 84-74 at the start of the final period and trimmed the lead to 100-96 with less than 3 minutes to play.
That’s when Stuckey answered with his free throws, and the Bucks never threatened again. The guard, benched earlier in the week, scored eight points in the fourth quarter.
“Rodney Stuckey had an outstanding game,” Kuester said. “He really did a good job controlling the tempo, getting fouled, taking the ball to the basket.”
“Our defense wasn’t as good as a team tonight,” the guard said. “We kind of let them get easy buckets and we really weren’t rotating like we usually do and they were able to counter it.”
Pistons owner Karen Davidson announced the tentative sale of the franchise to Gores Friday afternoon. Her husband, Bill, bought the team in 1974 and built the Palace of Auburn Hills, which opened in 1988. His widow announced after his death in 2009 that she was seeking a buyer.
The two sides had been in negotiations for several months. Pistons president Alan Ostfield said he was unsure when the NBA would vote to approve the sale.
Notes: The sale agreement also includes the arena and two nearby outdoor entertainment venues. … The Bucks announced earlier Friday that C Andrew Bogut(notes) will miss the rest of the season because of pain in his right elbow. He will undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove loose particles and scar tissue there. … Detroit guard Will Bynum(notes) (right knee strain) and center Ben Wallace(notes) (right knee) each missed their second straight game.