AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—After Milwaukee’s reserves helped turn things around, Brandon Jennings turned the game into a rout.
Jennings scored 20 of his 30 points in the third quarter as the Bucks cruised to a 117-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
Mike Dunleavy had 17 points and Monta Ellis added 14 for the Bucks, who rallied from a 15-point first-quarter deficit to take a 10-point lead at halftime. The Milwaukee reserves outscored Detroit’s 59-41, including 28-10 in the key second quarter.
“We got a ton of energy from our second unit to help us get back into the game—that really set the tone and got everybody’s blood going a little,” Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said. “And then Brandon came out and what can you say about that third quarter? Just `wow’.”
Jennings, considered a possibility to replace injured Boston guard Rajon Rondo at the All-Star game, certainly didn’t hurt his chances against Detroit. At one stretch in the third period, he hit four straight 3-pointers while accounting for all of the scoring during the Bucks’ 16-0 run that gave them an 85-56 lead.
“We were just really aggressive in that quarter,” Jennings said. “Our bigs gave us everything they had, and that gave us some unbelievable intensity.”
Jennings finally cooled down late in the third, throwing up an air ball while going for his sixth 3 of the period, but he just laughed off the ensuing chant from what was left of a tiny Palace crowd.
“We know that a guy like Brandon Jennings, who has been struggling a little, was going to come out and try to play at a high level tonight,” said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. “He just turned the game into a show in the third quarter, and we couldn’t do anything to stop it.”
Rookie Andre Drummond had 18 points and 18 rebounds for Detroit, while Greg Monroe scored 14 points. Drummond became just the second teenager to have an 18-18 game since 1985-86, joining Dwight Howard
Detroit, which hopes to make a run at the playoffs now that Boston has lost Rondo, won’t have a shot if they play many more games like Tuesday’s.
“It was a strange game,” the Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva said. “We came out playing really well for the first 10 or 11 minutes, and after that it was all downhill. They turned it up, and we just collapsed.”
After taking a 28-13 lead with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter, the Pistons were outscored 77-35 over the next nearly 25 minutes. Milwaukee had a 33-14 scoring edge in the second period, including Samuel Dalembert tipping in a missed free throw that had been taken with 0.1 seconds left.
“The worst part about that play was that it was Milwaukee’s third offensive rebound off a missed free throw in the first half,” Frank said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. We had a chance to get up big, but they started playing harder than we did, and that changed the whole personality of the game.”
Things got even worse in the third quarter as Jennings helped the Bucks stretch their lead to 29 with 3:42 remaining in the period.
Detroit’s defensive effort disappeared at that point, leading to a particularly ugly sequence in the fourth. Dalembert got open for back-to-back uncontested dunks in a half-court set, with John Henson making it three in a row on the next possession.
“When someone comes out firing like Brandon did in the third quarter, I think it takes a lot of life out of the other team,” Boylan said. “He’s been doing that a lot for us lately.”
NOTES: Dunleavy had a four-point play as part of his 14-point second quarter. … The Pistons had beaten Milwaukee in both meetings this season. … The Pistons honored NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski at halftime. Keselowski is from Rochester Hills, only a few miles from the Palace. … Howard had three games of at least 18 rebounds and 18 points at the age of 19.