Auburn Hills — Before Friday’s game, Pistons coach John Kuester talked about what a good addition John Salmons will be to the Bucks roster.
Milwaukee acquired Salmons at Thursday’s trade deadline.
Salmons proved Kuester prophetic a few hours later, hitting a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to key a 91-85 Bucks victory.
Salmons had 19 points to lead the Bucks, and triggered a bench that outscored the Pistons’ bench 53-16.
“Salmons came in — he doesn’t even know their offense yet — and he’s being aggressive,” said Kuester, who coached Salmons, a 6-foot-6 guard, when Kuester was an assistant in Philadelphia.
“He can play multiple positions, he’s not a liability on defense and he works hard. I was very surprised (Chicago) was willing to give him up. He was doing a good job for them.”
Richard Hamilton scored 29 for the Pistons (19-35). Rodney Stuckey added 13 points.
The Pistons made their first 11 shots while taking a 25-12 lead.
Typical of the season, though, they wound up leading after the first quarter by only six (29-23) and trailing at halftime 50-46.
The Pistons shot 80 percent in the first quarter (12-of-15) but were only 5-for-16 in the next quarter as the ball movement disappeared (nine assists dwindled to two) and the offense stagnated when the reserves entered
“They answered all of our runs,” Will Bynum (six points, five assists) said. “No way we (the bench) can play like that when the first team plays as well as they did. We have to keep it going and we didn’t do that.”
The Pistons never led after the midway mark of the second quarter.
Ersan Ilyasova and former Piston Carlos Delfino scored 16 apiece for the Bucks (25-28). Jerry Stackhouse, another former Piston, came off the bench and scored 12 points in 19 minutes for the Bucks.
“They made some timely plays and we didn’t come up in key situations,” Kuester said. “They created a lot of breaks for themselves.”
Said Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles: “It felt good to get the win out there. We weathered a lot out there. They (the Pistons) were shooting over 50 percent most of the game. When plays were needed to be made, we were able to step up and make some big shots.”
Ben Gordon struggled with four points in nearly 20 minutes of playing time.
Gordon said the inconsistent playing time and shot opportunities of late is frustrating.
“I just have to try to be more efficient and try to make the best of it, however many minutes I’m playing,” he said. “That has to be my mind-set for the rest of the season.”
Gordon admitted it’s tough for the coaching staff, what with the lack of continuity this season because of the injuries.
“It’s tough for everybody,” he said. “We all know we haven’t had everybody from the beginning of the season. Now is kind of like a trial period and it’s tough for this time of the season.”