Drummond carries Pistons past Bucks 105-98
Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings had tried to
dismiss Wednesday night’s matchup against his former team as simply
another game on the team’s schedule.
The closer it got to tipoff against the Milwaukee Bucks, the
harder that became.
”I was nervous in the beginning because I’m not used to being
on the other side,” Jennings said. ”There were a lot of emotions
going on. The whole time I felt like it was just another game. But
once it got closer to game time, my nerves were just going.”
Jennings struggled considerably in the first half, but finished
with 17 points and 11 assists in helping the Pistons to a 105-98
win over the Bucks in his return to Milwaukee.
”Once the second half started, I settled down and just played
basketball,” Jennings said.
Andre Drummond had 24 points and 19 rebounds and the Pistons
rode a strong second half to victory. Greg Monroe contributed 18
points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons, who had five players score
15 or more points.
”Going into the game, we were really concerned about
matchups,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. ”We felt they were just
too big and we’d have to mix our defenses up and hopefully
outrebound those guys. We just could not physically overcome that
Detroit hadn’t had two players pull down at least 15 rebounds
apiece since Feb. 10, 2005, when Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace
accomplished the feat.
”We’re starting to jell, starting to find ourselves and an
identity,” Drummond said. ”The first half was tough for us. We
let the fatigue get to us a little bit.”
That led to a change of strategy in the second half.
”We got it down low because we knew our jump shots weren’t
really going to fall because our legs were tired. So we drove to
the hoop and got the foul calls,” Drummond said.
Detroit shot 42 foul shots and Milwaukee had 22.
Jennings spent four seasons with the Bucks after the team
drafted him 10th overall in 2009 out of Oak Hill Academy. He joined
the Pistons in July after a sign-and-trade deal that sent Brandon
Knight and Khris Middleton to the Bucks. A restricted free-agent at
the time, Jennings inked a three-year, $24 million deal with the
The sparse crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center booed loudly
when Jennings was introduced before the game and each time he
touched the ball early in the contest. Jennings missed all four of
his shots from the field in the first quarter but had two early
assists that led to dunks.
”The boos didn’t hurt,” Jennings said. ”I still have a lot of
fans here. At the end of the day, the fans supported us through the
good and bad. It didn’t bother me.”
Jennings didn’t score until sinking a 3-pointer from the top of
the key with 3:03 remaining in the second quarter. He finished 4 of
16 from the field.
”We tried to get him a basket early to kind of settle him down
a little bit,” Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. ”But he missed
a couple shots that he normally makes.”
In the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 25 in Detroit,
Jennings had 15 points and 13 assists, including four of six from
3-point range, in sparking Detroit to a 113-94 win.
”Brandon handled himself like a professional,” Drummond said.
”He got booed, but it’s all part of the game.”
Ersan Ilyasova, who has been plagued by injuries that include a
sore ankle, scored a season high 22 points, including 16 in the
first half, and had 10 rebounds off the bench to lead the Bucks,
who have lost 13 of 14. Middleton added 14 points for
”It’s the first time I feel healthy. My ankle is getting
better,” Ilyasova said. We have to find a way to play much better.
We have to come together and find a way to win games.”
The Pistons trailed by five at the half, but used a 16-0 run
midway through the third quarter to take a 10-point lead.
The Bucks got within five points on Knight’s 3 with 1:36
remaining in the game, but that’s as close as they would get.
Ekpe Udoh had five blocked shots in the second quarter for
Milwaukee, tying his career high. He finished with six.
The Bucks used a 15-1 run to open a 38-31 second-quarter lead
and held at 50-45 advantage at halftime. Detroit made just 33
percent of its shots over the first two quarters.
NOTES: Police issued municipal citations to Bucks center Larry
Sanders for disorderly conduct and assault and battery stemming
from a fight last month at a downtown Milwaukee nightclub. Drew had
no comment when asked about the citations. Sanders had surgery on
his right thumb on Nov. 11 after getting hurt during the scrum. He
initially was expected to be out four to six weeks. Drew on
Wednesday had no update on a timetable for Sanders’ return. …
Pistons guard Chauncey Billups remained sidelined with left knee
tendinitis and guard Will Bynum was inactive with an adductor