Pistons aim to locate defense in return home vs. Bucks (Nov 03, 2017)
Road victories over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Clippers and defending champion Golden State gave the Detroit Pistons hope for the future.
A lopsided defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers showed they still have plenty of room for improvement.
The Pistons (5-3) were outscored in every quarter of a 113-93 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night, marring an otherwise promising three-game road trip. They looked like a playoff team over the weekend, erasing double-digit deficits to record eight-point wins over the Clippers and Warriors.
They now return home for five consecutive games, beginning with the Central Division rival Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
"I think what we can take away is a learning experience," forward Tobias Harris said. "Two games where we came out and we dictated how we were really going to play, and then one game where we let the other team dictate how they wanted to play. It's something that we have to be able to understand. To be a really good and successful team, we have to dominate from the start and dictate the pace of the game and the intensity of the game."
Detroit's defense fell apart against the Lakers, who shot 49.5 percent overall and 46.2 percent from long range.
"It was a humbling experience I think for our guys. It certainly was for me," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I think they absolutely dominated the full 48 minutes. They won all four quarters, (and) we never got it under double figures in the second half. They dominated us. They got whatever they wanted. We had no fight in us. It was a bad, bad night."
Van Gundy's club moves on to its first divisional opponent this season. Milwaukee won three of the four meetings in the season series in 2016-17.
The Pistons have a balanced attack, led by Harris (20.5 points per game). The Bucks are heavily reliant on their 22-year star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
Antetokounmpo scored a season-low 14 points in a 126-121 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. Foul trouble played a big role, as he picked up three in the first half and five for the game while shooting 5-for-16 from the field. Even Khris Middleton's career-high 43 points couldn't save the Bucks.
"We've been living in foul trouble," Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. "Giannis has been in foul trouble, Khris has been in foul trouble, we've had our bigs in foul trouble, so we've got to learn how to not foul. With Giannis in foul trouble, he's sitting on the bench and that doesn't help us. We've got to get better at that."
Milwaukee (4-4) ranks 25th in defensive field-goal percentage, allowing opponents to shoot 46.7 percent. It has given up at least 110 points in half of its games, and the Hornets' total was a season high. The Bucks were coming off a 110-91 loss to Oklahoma City.
"If you score over 120 points, you would say (the offense) did great," Kidd said. "I guess it did great but our defense was horrible. It's not just one side of the ball, we've got to play both. I thought the intent on the offensive end was a lot better than (the Thunder game) but the other side of the ball, we've got to get better at."
The Bucks are playing without center Greg Monroe (hamstring). John Henson and Thon Maker are sharing that spot. Detroit backup forward Jon Leuer (ankle) is questionable to play.