This is not how the Milwaukee Bucks wanted to enter an early clash with the Central Division-leading Detroit Pistons.
Trying to shake off an ugly loss, the Bucks try to regroup Saturday when they host the Pistons at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee (7-7) lost its final three games to Detroit last season, including a 121-95 rout at home March 25 in the most recent meeting between the teams. On top of that, the Bucks are trying to shake off a disappointing 91-88 loss at New York on Friday in which they blew a 17-point second-half lead despite an injury to Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury.
"The ceiling fell in,'' Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They picked up some energy for sure. I thought Freddie Jones gave them a big lift and Jamal Crawford made some huge plays. We had a hard time stopping both of those guys in the midst of a momentum turn.''
Michael Redd scored 27 points, but missed one chance to give the Bucks the lead late and then a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds. The guard has averaged 22.7 points during the losing streak, but it was clear Friday's defeat bothered him, but not because it was to a team that lost by 45 points just 24 hours earlier.
"I'm speechless,'' Redd said. "I'm more speechless about us losing three in a row, not that we lost to the Knicks. The Knicks are a talented team. We knew they would come back and fight hard. When you have a lead like that, you've got to be able to defend and put your foot down and take advantage of the situation, and we didn't do that tonight.''
Redd has averaged 19.2 points in 23 career games versus the Pistons, but only 16.0 points in 13 home games.
Detroit went 3-1 on a four-game homestand that was capped with perhaps its best performance of the season, a 109-74 rout of reigning Eastern Conference champion Cleveland on Wednesday. Richard Hamilton scored 18 points as the Pistons (9-5) shot a blistering 58.4 percent and made no apologies for beating a Cavaliers team that lost LeBron James to a sprained finger in the second quarter.
"A win is a win,'' said Hamilton. "LeBron is a big part of their team, but they've still got five guys with an NBA jersey on the court.''
Hamilton did not play in the final meeting between the teams last season, but is averaging 17.8 points in 29 lifetime games versus the Bucks.
The Pistons have allowed at least 100 points in each of their last five road games, going 2-3 in that span and dropping the last two. Detroit is yielding 98.3 points per game on the road - nearly six more than its overall average of 92.6 points.
Detroit has won three of its last four games at Milwaukee after the Bucks had won five of the six there.
Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited