Pistons at Bucks Game Preview - Jan. 12, 2012
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While the Milwaukee Bucks haven't encountered any success on the road, they've been plenty impressive at home.
Looking to stay undefeated at the Bradley Center, Milwaukee tries to add to the Detroit Pistons' recent woes Thursday night.
The Bucks, who dropped to 0-6 on the road after losing five times on their recently completed trip, bounced back with Tuesday's 106-103 win over San Antonio. Milwaukee posted its highest-scoring game of the season in improving to 3-0 at home, where it's averaging 102.0 points on 48.8 percent shooting - significantly higher than its road marks of 88.8 and 40.3.
While returning home surely helped their cause, the Bucks (3-6) also greatly benefited from having former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut back on the court. After missing four games while dealing with personal issues in his native Australia, Bogut posted 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"It's just as important as having breath. We need the big fella," said Stephen Jackson, who recorded season highs of 34 points and eight assists. "To have him, to have a post presence ... it was definitely special. I can't say how big it was to have him back.
"We just wanted to get back to winning some games. It felt good to win at home, it was a big game and hopefully it will carry over to the next one."
Milwaukee has to like its chances of keeping things going against the reeling Pistons (2-8), who have been outscored by an average of 20.0 points during a five-game losing streak. One day after dropping to 0-4 on the road with a 92-68 loss to Chicago, Detroit fell 100-86 at home to Dallas on Tuesday.
"This process (of rebuilding) may be very painful," coach Lawrence Frank said. "It doesn't get better just because you want it to get better. I hope we are all frustrated, because when you are, you have two options. The first is to work harder and understand what you want to do. The second choice isn't an option.
"Everyone wants a baby, but few people want to go through the pregnancy. This is going to be hard."
The Pistons were without Rodney Stuckey (sore groin) and Charlie Villanueva (sore right ankle) for a fourth consecutive game. Stuckey is averaging 10.8 points, while Villanueva has played just six minutes all season.
Brandon Knight, selected eighth overall in June's draft, has averaged 13.5 points while starting in place of Stuckey. He has, however, committed 17 turnovers over that stretch - including six of the Pistons' season high-tying 21 on Tuesday.
"You've got to take care of the ball to win games," forward Jonas Jerebko told Detroit's official website. " ... We're trying to keep our heads straight. It's early in the season. There are a lot of games left and we know how we can play, so we just have to stay positive. We're going to get some wins. We've just got to stay together."
While not much has gone their way recently, the Pistons have certainly held their own in this series of late. Detroit has won 14 of the last 19 meetings with Milwaukee, including 110-100 in the most recent matchup April 8 thanks in part to a combined 37 points from Stuckey and Villanueva.
The Pistons haven't lost six in a row since an 11-game slide March 13-April 3, 2010.