Pistons vs. Bucks Game Preview - March 31, 2014
Regular Season Game #74It's been a forgettable past few days for the Detroit Pistons, who just lost to a team that hadn't won in two months.
While they weren't able to take advantage of that seemingly favorable matchup, they have another one awaiting them at home Monday night.
The Pistons try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat when they face an NBA-worst Milwaukee Bucks team that's won just one road game in 2014.
Two days after falling 97-96 to Cleveland on a buzzer beater, Detroit (26-47) was blown out 110-78 by Miami on Friday. Things got especially bad the following night in an embarrassing 123-98 loss at Philadelphia as the 76ers snapped an NBA record-tying 26-game losing streak.
"They all hurt," coach John Loyer said. "Of course Cleveland at the buzzer hurt a lot, and then not playing the way we should have in front of a home crowd (Friday) night hurt. To come out tonight after that lackluster effort and give us this is not acceptable. Our guys know that and our coaches know that."
Greg Monroe had 20 points and 10 rebounds, but he was the only Pistons starter to score more than 10. Detroit was outscored 60-46 in the paint and shot just 38.8 percent against one of the league's worst defensive teams.
"There was no effort tonight. Absolutely no effort," Monroe said. "I'm trying to win every game. I don't care about the circumstances. And it shouldn't be circumstantial."
The 11th-place Pistons have all but been eliminated from playoff contention after losing 18 of 22. They are 5 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.
"The message to the team is, 'If this is the type of effort we're going to have over the next nine, then we'll have results like we did the last two nights,'" Loyer said. "We've played some good basketball against some very good people, so we're capable. We just haven't shown that in two straight nights, and we have to get back to that."
Detroit had taken three straight and five of six from Milwaukee before falling 104-101 on Jan. 22. The Pistons went up by as many as 13 midway through the third quarter, but they scored just four points over the game's final five minutes.
The Bucks (14-59) snapped an eight-game skid with Thursday's 108-105 win over the Lakers before their struggles resumed in Saturday's 88-67 loss to Miami. Milwaukee was held to 34.2 percent shooting in posting its fewest points in more than three years.
Former Pistons guard Brandon Knight and Ramon Sessions shot a combined 11 of 33, including 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
"I just didn't feel like we had that pep in our step," coach Larry Drew said. "We were talking about getting out in transition. "Against a good team, you can't rely on your half court every possession."
Knight was acquired from Detroit in the Brandon Jennings trade last summer. He is averaging 12.0 points while shooting 31.4 percent in three meetings against his former team, down from his season marks of 17.5 and 42.0.
Jennings is averaging 20.7 points and 9.3 assists against the Bucks. He scored two on 1-of-5 shooting Saturday before two technical fouls led to his ejection with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
Milwaukee is 1-19 on the road since January, with the lone win coming at Philadelphia.