Pistons at Bucks Game Preview - January 22, 2014
Regular Season Game #42It's been a rough few weeks for Brandon Jennings. A matchup against his former team could help Jennings and the Detroit Pistons bounce back.
Detroit hits the road seeking a fourth consecutive win over the NBA-worst Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
While the Pistons (17-24) followed a season-worst six-game losing streak by winning three of four, their struggles resumed Monday in a 112-103 loss to the Clippers. Rodney Stuckey had a season-high 29 points off the bench and Josh Smith added 24, but Jennings was held scoreless for the second time in his career while going 0 of 7 from the field.
"We're still new to each other, it's not going to happen overnight, it's not going to happen in 40 games," said Smith, who was brought in along with Jennings in separate deals this summer. "We just have to be able to figure out what we're doing right in those games that we're winning and we have to try, as much as possible, to mimic those special moments."
Detroit, which fell behind by as many as 20, allowed Los Angeles to shoot 55.6 percent and was outrebounded 44-30, including 15-8 on the offensive glass. The Pistons dropped to 0-16 when surrendering 109 points or more and 0-15 when opponents shoot at least 50.0 percent.
"We've got to get better on the ball," coach Maurice Cheeks told the team's official website. "Our perimeter defense has got to get a little bit better where guys don't break us down as easily and get to the rim where our big guys are not helping as much.
"And we've got to do a better job of eliminating touches and pushing guys off the block a little bit more."
Getting Jennings on track could also prove key. The fifth-year guard, whose field-goal percentage of 36.9 ranks second-lowest in the NBA, has averaged 10.4 points on 26.1 percent shooting in eight games this month.
The Pistons have taken five of six from Milwaukee, including both matchups this season behind a combined 32 points and 24 assists from Jennings. The former Bucks guard, though, shot 4 of 16 and committed six turnovers during his first trip back to the Bradley Center, a 105-98 victory Dec. 4.
Andre Drummond posted 24 points and a career high-tying 19 boards in that game, and Greg Monroe added 18 and 17, respectively. Drummond, second in the league with 30 double-doubles, is averaging 18.0 points and 15.0 boards in his three matchups against the Bucks.
Milwaukee (7-33) is still seeking its first win in 2014 after getting blown out 110-82 at San Antonio on Sunday. Brandon Knight stayed hot with 21 points, but the other four starters managed 25 as Milwaukee dropped to 0-9 in January.
The Bucks, outscored by an average of 15.1 points during that skid, have just two wins in their last 19 games.
Knight has played especially well in the last three, posting 24.7 points per contest while shooting 55.1 percent. Knight, acquired in the Jennings trade, has been held to a combined 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting against his former team this season.
Fellow guard Luke Ridnour is uncertain to be available due to a wrist injury suffered against the Spurs. Caron Butler could be back, though, after sitting out Sunday with an illness.