The Detroit Pistons last visited Milwaukee a little more than two weeks ago. At the time, they were a surprise story in the league with a 10-3 record that put them near the top of the Eastern Conference.
When the Pistons return Wednesday night for their third meeting with the Bucks this season, they will be looking to get back on track after losing four of their last six, including the past three in a row.
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“Obviously, we’re upset. We’re down,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But at the same time, we’ve got to be ready to go and be able to bounce back and stay positive with it. We knew this was a tough stretch in our schedule, playing a lot of good teams, so we’ve just got to be ready and be focused for the next one.
“We’re playing nine of 11 on the road. That’s when you get into some streaks and things. The schedule has something to do with it. It’s not like we’re playing sub-.500 teams at home and losing games. You can’t get caught up in all that stuff. It’s a matter of how you’re playing.
“The problem with us is in four of the last five games, we’ve played one good half and one bad half — and that’s not enough.”
Avery Bradley’s shooting woes are not the only issue plaguing the Pistons, but they sure aren’t helping.
Bradley finished with just three points on 1-of-9 shooting Monday in a 96-93 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He is averaging 7.3 points on 27.3 percent shooting — including 1 of 3 from beyond the arc — during Detroit’s losing streak.
“I know it’s going to turn back around,” Bradley said. “I’ve been playing this game for a while. I know that you go through these funks and you stay in the gym. You can’t get down on yourself and just make shots.
“I still want to make shots. I got to make shots to help our team.”
Milwaukee had its season-high three-game winning streak snapped Monday night with a 111-100 loss in Boston despite 40 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
He has hit 40 or more three times this season, the most in the league and the first Milwaukee player to accomplish the feat since Michael Redd in 2006-07.
However, while Antetokounmpo and Co. have no problem putting points on the board, they have struggled with keeping their opponents from doing so — especially from behind the arc.
Milwaukee’s 3-point defense is last in the league at 40.2 percent, and the Bucks are 19th in the league in opponents’ overall shooting rate at 46.4 percent.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd and his staff tweaked the team’s defensive scheme during the last few weeks, but it is still a work in progress at times.
“We have changed the defensive principles,” Kidd said. “We’re switching just like everyone else. When we do switch, we tend to have a hard time guarding the ball. Length doesn’t guard the ball, you have to move your feet. When you look at it, we don’t have quick feet. We have length, but that doesn’t help when you have to guard a quicker guy.
“And then also being young. Understanding when you start the game you’re preparing for the guy you’re going to guard, and in this league with all the switching that’s taking place, you’re going to end up on someone else. So you have to know everyone on the floor. When you’re young, that’s just impossible.”
The teams have split the first two meetings this season with each winning on its own court.