Pistons use big third quarter to beat BucksBy Andrew Waner, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Jan 12, 2013 12:00 AM EST
MILWAUKEE -- Playing for the first time in four days, the Detroit Pistons could expect to be a little rusty. And for the first half Friday against Milwaukee, the Pistons looked very much like a team trying to dust off cobwebs. Whatever head coach Lawrence Frank said at halftime worked, as the Pistons came out on fire in the second half and rode a 33-point third quarter to a 103-87 victory, giving Detroit its seventh win in the last nine games. Greg Monroe was a bruising force in the paint, scoring 12 of his game-high 26 points in the third quarter as the Pistons held Milwaukee to a season-low 11 points and just 23.8 percent shooting in that quarter. "Our third quarter was great," Frank said. "Holding them to 11 points, scoring off our defense ... our ball movement, our spacing, getting stops, it was just a tremendous effort." Monroe led four Pistons who scored in double figures. Brandon Knight had 20 points with five assists, and Kyle Singler and Jason Maxiell each added 10 points. "We came out with great energy," Monroe said. "They had an 11-point third quarter. Defensively, we knew we needed to take the lead and take control of the game. I got into a rhythm, Brandon got into a rhythm and made a few big shots. It was definitely one of our best third quarters of the season, by far. We'll have to find a way to duplicate that." With the exception of the second quarter, the Bucks were plagued by a bout of cold shooting. Milwaukee went 36-of-91 from the field (39.6 percent) and was abysmal from long range, hitting just 1 of 16 three-point attempts. Twice, once to end the first quarter and again midway through the third, the Bucks missed 10 straight field-goal attempts. "They just kind of took control," Milwaukee's John Henson said. "We lost our legs, missed some shots. They kind of took advantage of it and that's what happened." Compounding the issue for Milwaukee, the Bucks had no response for Monroe and the Pistons' fellow post players, especially in the third when Detroit outscored Milwaukee 16-9 in the paint and went to the free throw line nine times compared to just two for the Bucks. "It was the deciding factor," said Bucks head coach Jim Boylan. "Their ability to throw it inside and create from that position, whether it was scoring opportunities for Monroe or kicking it out and finding shooters on the perimeter ... once you get a rhythm going like they did, everything seems to click." Brandon Jennings and Beno Udrih has 15 points each for the Bucks, who saw their two-game winning streak under new coach Boylan snapped. A 20-6 second-quarter run helped Milwaukee erase a five-point deficit after one quarter. Udrih went 6-of-6 from the field to score 13 of the Bucks' 29 points during the quarter as the team shot 68.4 percent from the field to take a 49-41 lead into halftime. NOTES: Detroit is the only Eastern Conference team to beat Milwaukee twice this season ... The Bucks blocked 12 shots against the Pistons and now have blocked at least 10 in each of their last four games ... Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva has 43 three-pointers since Nov. 25, the fourth-most in the NBA during that stretch ... Monroe is one of only three players averaging at least 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game this season ... Udrih has finished with 10 or more points four times in the last five games ... Monroe has 13 double-doubles this season and six 20-point/10-rebound games ... Monta Ellis was in the starting lineup Friday for Milwaukee despite suffering an injury to his left ankle Wednesday against Chicago. Ellis has started all 35 of Milwaukee's games this season.
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