Bucks-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks just rallied from an 18-point deficit for an impressive victory to cap a perfect homestand.

They had far less trouble beating the Detroit Pistons earlier this week.

The Bucks will go for their second win over the lowly Pistons in five days as they visit The Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night.

Milwaukee (10-11) picked up two big wins during its 3-0 homestand, opening with a 100-89 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and closing it by defeating Miami 105-97 on Wednesday.

It was the Bucks' second win over the Heat this season. After giving up 40 points in the first quarter to fall behind by 17, they held Miami to 37 in the second half.

"Much like the Laker game, this is a great win. Our guys played great and we deserved to win," coach Scott Skiles said. "But then, we've got to go to Detroit and win a game to make this a really good win."

Milwaukee has won six of eight and now seeks its first four-game winning streak since the 2009-10 season.

Brandon Jennings had another outstanding night Wednesday, finishing with 31 points, eight assists, seven 3-pointers and no turnovers. He is averaging 24.3 points in the last nine games.

"Brandon was great," Skiles said. "I know he'll look at the stat sheet and wish he shot a better percentage (9 for 25), but when we needed big shots, he's able to knock them down."

Jennings has shot much better in two wins over Detroit this season, hitting 56.7 percent from the field while averaging 24.0 points. He's made 7 of 12 from 3-point range in those games, including four Monday in a 103-82 victory over the Pistons.

The Bucks went 10 of 17 from beyond the arc in that win and never trailed. Detroit got no closer than 15 points in the fourth quarter of that game, and never led in the second half of a 102-93 defeat at Milwaukee on Jan. 12.

While the Bucks have won three of four road games after losing their first eight, Detroit (4-20) has dropped seven straight overall after an 0-4 road trip.

The Pistons fell 99-96 to New Jersey on Wednesday after a late rally fell short, with Brandon Knight missing a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining. Detroit lost its previous three games by an average of 23.0 points.

"To be able to have a chance, it felt good," said Tayshaun Prince, who had 21 points. "It has been a while."

Detroit is looking for a better defensive effort, giving up an average of 102.4 points during its losing streak while allowing opponents to shoot 48.3 percent from 3-point range.

"We have to install defensive intensity. (It is the) only way we have a chance of winning," coach Lawrence Frank said. "(We) want to establish a defense-first mentality."

Frank's team could face problems in the paint against a Bucks team getting good play inside despite the absence of center Andrew Bogut, out eight to 12 weeks with a fractured ankle.

Drew Gooden has started the last four games in Bogut's place, averaging 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova continues to play valuable minutes off the bench, averaging 10.3 points and 9.6 boards over the last seven games.

Jennings, meanwhile, might be matched up with Knight, third among rookies with 12.3 points per game. Knight scored 15 on Wednesday after totaling 18 in the previous three games, including a scoreless performance against the Bucks.

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