Bucks-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

Brandon Jennings has made a habit of starting slow and finishing strong recently, but Milwaukee Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan would like to see him be more aggressive throughout an entire contest.

The guard hasn't done much at any point in games against the Detroit Pistons this season.

Visiting Milwaukee seeks its first victory in three matchups with Detroit as the Central Division rivals meet Tuesday night.

Jennings has gone scoreless in the first half in each of Milwaukee's last two games, missing all six field-goal attempts. He's turned it up in the last 24 minutes, though, attempting 14 second-half shots in each game.

He finished with 14 points in a 113-108 loss at Cleveland on Friday, then scored 20 to key a surge for the Bucks (23-17) in their 109-102 win over Golden State on Saturday.

Jennings has averaged 16.3 points in the second half of his last four games compared to 6.0 in the first. He's attempted fewer than half the amount of field goals in the first half (23) than the second (48) in that span.

''He's a competitor,'' Boylan said after Saturday's contest. "He was trying to move the ball a little bit in the first half, but we needed him to score. He came out in the second half and did what we needed him to do for our team, and that's what he's done for us all year. That's what we expect from him.''

Jennings has averaged 8.5 assists in the past four games after averaging 5.3 over his previous 36.

''Once I get it going, I get it going. I think it fed off to my teammates,'' Jennings said.

He hasn't gotten much going versus Detroit this season, scoring 24 total points while shooting 32.0 percent as Milwaukee has dropped both meetings. He averaged 23.3 points while hitting 51.5 percent from the field in his previous six against the Pistons.

Detroit, winner of three of four versus the Bucks, is coming off a 104-102 victory over Orlando on Sunday. The Pistons had dropped the first two on their three-game trip.

"In this league (things can go from) good to bad, bad to good very quickly. It's the NBA," coach Lawrence Frank said. "You just have to stay the course and just keep working."

Brandon Knight finished with a career-high 31 points and reserve Will Bynum added a career-best 12 assists for the Pistons (17-27).

"You always want to go home on a win although we know we let a couple games (during road trip) slip away before that," Knight said.

Despite being 10 games under .500, Detroit is only four behind Boston for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

"Every game is a must-win game for us from this point on if we want to have a shot at trying to make the playoffs," said forward Tayshaun Prince, shooting 34.2 percent over his last four. "We have to continue to take one game at a time."

Prince hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining and scored a team-high 20 points to help Detroit overcome 30 from Monta Ellis in a 96-94 win over Milwaukee on Dec. 30.

Greg Monroe scored 26 points and added 11 rebounds in the Pistons' 103-87 win over the Bucks on Jan. 11.

Boylan is 7-3 since taking over for Scott Skiles.

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