Pistons hand Bucks ninth straight loss

Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Point guard Brandon Jennings regained faith in his outside shot while playing against his former team. The confidence of his current team is also growing.
Jennings hit a flurry of 3-pointers in the early going as the Detroit Pistons sent the reeling Milwaukee Bucks to their ninth consecutive loss 113-94 on Monday at The Palace. Jennings had 15 points, including four first-quarter 3-pointers, and 13 assists in his first game against the team that dealt him away in a sign-and-trade this offseason.
Jennings admitted over the weekend he had lost confidence in his shot. He shot 36.4 percent during Detroit's first 13 games and was 6-for-26 from the field in the previous two games.
"It just felt great to see a shot go in the basket," said Jennings, who played his first four seasons with the Bucks. "I've been working really hard. I worked a little bit after the shootaround today, trying to get more extra shots. I'm still putting the work in and hopefully it keeps paying off."
Jennings is hopeful his team can keep taking advantage of a four-game homestand that started on Monday. Like most Eastern Conference teams, the Pistons (6-8) have gotten off to a slow start but they won for the second time in as many days. They defeated Brooklyn 109-97 on Sunday afternoon.
"We've just got to keep it going," Jennings said. "We can't get satisfied with just two wins. Right now, the East is really shaky. So if we can win the next two games, we can be the third team in the East the way it's shaping up right now. That's where my head is at and hopefully, that's where everybody else's head is at."
The Pistons, who never trailed, led by as much as 33 in the first half and 34 points after the break.
"Brandon made some pull-up threes and a lot of guys made shots," Pistons coach Mo Cheeks said. "We had a lot of early postups, but I just thought our defensive activity allowed us to play the way we played in the first quarter."
Guard Rodney Stuckey, who had a team-high 27 points against the Nets, led seven Pistons in double figures with 17 points. Forward Greg Monroe had 16 points and rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tossed in a career-high 14 points.
Center Andre Drummond contributed 12 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons. Forward Charlie Villanueva had 12 points off the bench and forward Josh Smith chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Forward John Henson had 15 points and seven rebounds for Milwaukee (2-11), which committed 20 turnovers that led to 26 Pistons points. Small forward Khris Middleton, one of the players traded for Jennings, and guard Gary Neal added 14 points apiece. The Bucks have lost by double digits five times during their current skid.
Bucks coach Larry Drew held a 20-minute meeting with his team afterward in which he and veteran center Zaza Pachulia did most of the talking.
"It was a lot of discussions in there," Drew said. "Right now, we are a team searching for an identity. Right now, we do not have one."
Guard Brandon Knight, the key piece for Milwaukee in the Jennings deal, set the tone for its latest implosion by making six turnovers in 21 minutes.
"We have to try to stay positive," Knight said. "Like Coach said, we have to find our identity, what kind of basketball team we want to be. We have to play harder and play for each other."
NOTES: The Bucks used 10 different starting lineups in their first 13 games. Coach Larry Drew started 12 different players, with only injured G/F Carlos Delfino and little-used rookie G/F Giannis Antetokounmpo and C Miroslav Raduljica failing to get a start. ... Milwaukee's last nine-game losing streak covered the final eight games of the 2007-08 season and the opener of the 2008-09 season. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond led the NBA in field-goal percentage (.664) entering the game but had made just seven of 29 free-throw tries (.241). ... Pistons G Chauncey Billups (knee tendinitis) missed his seventh consecutive game. ... Detroit SF Kyle Singler played just two minutes because of an eye infection created by an allergic reaction to his contact lenses. ... The Bucks were playing the third of 11 consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams. Their next Western Conference opponent is the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 11. ... The teams have a combined 11 first- and second-year players on their rosters.

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