Bucks vs. Pistons Preview: Pistons look to make it three for three

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks land in Detroit hoping to move five games above .500 for the first time this season, but figure to have their hands full with an improving Pistons squad that has already beaten them twice in the past month.

2012/2013 NBA Season
Mil_medium
(23-19, 11-10 road)
vs.
Det
(17-27, 12-11 home)
January 29, 2013
The Palace | Auburn Hills, MI
6:30 CT
No Local TV | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Brandon Jennings PG Brandon Knight
Monta Ellis SG Kyle Singler
Luc Mbah a Moute SF Tayshaun Prince
Ersan Ilyasova PF Jason Maxiell
Larry Sanders C Greg Monroe
2012/13 Advanced Stats
94.4 (5th) Pace 89.9 (24th)
102.8 (24th) ORtg 104.4 (15th)
103.5 (8th) DRtg 105.7 (17th)

On the Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys | Piston Powered | Need4Sheed

Pistons update. These guys again? Detroit has already beaten the Bucks twice in the past month, having narrowly edged Milwaukee 96-94 on December 30 and then delivering a 103-87 Bradley Center beatdown two weeks later. The Bucks trailed virtually the entire game in Detroit but were a Monta Ellis jumper away from forcing overtime. It wasn't nearly as close on January 11 in Milwaukee, as the Pistons annihilated the Bucks 33-11 in the third quarter and never looked back. Greg Monroe (26 pts, 11 rebs) and Brandon Knight (20 pts, 5 ast) led the way that night, and the third-year center from Georgetown is once again rounding into form with 17.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg and 3.5 apg on 52.1% shooting this month.

On Sunday, the Pistons rode Knight's career-high 31 points to a 104-102 win in Orlando, finishing their three game road trip on a positive note after losing in Chicago and Miami. The game was also notable for who didn't play; sixth man Rodney Stuckey was left off the active roster, though head coach Lawrence Frank isn't spilling the beans on why. None of the Pistons seemed to have an answer either, though Stuckey had several run-ins with previous coach John Kuester and has been slumping of late. Stuckey started eight games earlier this season but has since been relegated to the bench in favor of rookie Kyle Singler, and there's no word yet if he'll be active tonight. Otherwise Frank's rotations have been remarkably stable (and healthy), with Knight, Monroe, Tayshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell each starting every game this season.

Over at Bucks.com, you can check out Jim Paschke's latest interview with Jim Boylan, who pinpointed the need to keep the Pistons' big men from easily establishing paint position.

Drummond. Andre Drummond may be a long shot for rookie of the year, but there may not be a more productive first year player in the league. Still just 19 years old, the former UConn star has averaged Larry Sanders-type numbers the past two months (8 pts/8 rebs/2 blks in 22 mpg) and he leads all rookies in PER (22.3), WS/48 (.200) and rebound rate (20.9%).

Gimme Five. Thrice the Bucks have had a chance to move five games above .500, and thrice they've lost to sub-.500 teams on the road: Charlotte, Detroit and Cleveland.

Ersanity returns. What's gotten into Ersan Ilyasova? Yesterday we dissected his recent hot streak and offered up some reasons for optimism going forward.

Media guided. If you haven't already, be sure to check out Alex's media guide book report over at Bucks.com.

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