Bucks 91, Pistons 85
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)
John Salmons spent most of Friday wondering where he was supposed to go.
Luckily for the Milwaukee Bucks, he figured it out.
Salmons, playing his first game after being acquired from Chicago on Thursday, scored 19 points and hit a clinching 3-pointer as the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 91-85.
``I didn't know any of the plays - they tried to teach me a couple at shootaround, but I forgot them as soon as the game started,'' said Salmons, who played 33 minutes off the bench. ``My teammates were great. They were telling me where I was supposed to go on every play.''
After getting Salmons for Joe Alexander and Hakim Warrick, the Bucks went right to him in a key situation. With Milwaukee leading 85-84, he hit a 3-pointer over Ben Wallace with 16 seconds to play.
``He certainly wasn't afraid to make big plays tonight,'' Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. ``He was really good, considering he didn't know what he was doing out there.''
Former Piston Carlos Delfino added 16 points for Milwaukee, while Ersan Ilyasova had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Brandon Jennings went 1-for-13, but grabbed a loose ball to prevent a late Detroit rally.
``Tonight was one of those nights where we had guys that were having off nights, but stepped up down the stretch,'' Skiles said. ``Brandon got a big steal, even when he couldn't hit a shot, and Andrew (Bogut) had 12 rebounds and five blocks when he wasn't having a great offensive game.''
Richard Hamilton scored 29 points to lead Detroit, which outshot Milwaukee 49 percent to 38 percent but made only one 3-pointer.
``Give them a lot of credit,'' Pistons coach John Kuester said. ``We put ourselves in a position where we needed one more stop and Salmons did a heck of a job. They made timely plays and we didn't come up in key situations.''
Detroit, normally a poor-shooting team, hit its first 11 shots before Hamilton missed a 17-foot jumper with 3:05 left in the first quarter. That helped the Pistons build a 25-12 lead, but Milwaukee was back in front early in the second period.
``We did a nice job weathering what they did at the start of the game,'' Skiles said. ``We made a lot of 3s and we made plays.''
Milwaukee led 50-46 at the half, helped by 10 second-quarter points from Jerry Stackhouse, and were ahead by as many as 10 in the third.
Detroit narrowed the gap to 81-80 with four minutes left, and Jennings missed a pair of 3-pointers to keep the Pistons in it. Ilyasova hit an off-balance jumper with 1:47 left, but Rodney Stuckey's steal and layup put Detroit back within a point.
After Salmons' 3, Stuckey missed the second of two free throws. Ben Wallace tipped the ball back towards Stuckey, who could have taken a tying 3-pointer, but Jennings beat him to the loose ball.
Milwaukee's win came 10 days after it lost by a dozen points to the Pistons at home.
``It was nice to beat those guys, because we lost really bad to them at home,'' Ilyasova said. ``We changed our game plan and we did a good job sticking to it.''
NOTES: Hamilton and Luc Mbah a Moute picked up technicals for trash-talking early in the third quarter. ... The Pistons didn't attempt a 3-point shot until Jonas Jerebko missed late in the third quarter. ... Newly acquired Primoz Brezec and Royal Ivey were both inactive for Milwaukee.