The Bucks string of tough-luck losses came to an end in Detroit--but sadly it wasn't because of a Milwaukee win. Allen Iverson was banished to the bench because of his practice no-show yesterday, but once he shed his warmups he looked like a man on a mission, scoring 17 along with seven assist and five boards to lead a balanced Detroit attack over the shorthanded Bucks, 107-97. While the Bucks were within six early in the fourth, Iverson's driving and Walter Herrman's shooting (16 points in 18 minutes) helped balloon the lead to as many as 15. Adding injury to insult: Charlie Villanueva reaggravated his strained hammy in the fourth.
Ramon Sessions. The Pistons prevented Sessions from creating for teammates (four assists/four turnovers) but couldn't keep him off the scoreboard. Sessions was again a huge factor offensively, tallying 21 points on only 12 shots and doing his best to keep the Bucks within striking distance in the second half.
Richard Jefferson. A solid line for Jefferson (21 points, 7/15 fg, eight rebounds in 42 minutes) and more importantly he didn't allow Tayshaun Prince (10 points) to get into any type of comfort zone.
Dan Gadzuric. Gadzuric was trigger-happy (3/12 fg) and not much of a factor in the late going, but he deserved to be there after a good first half carried him to a 10-point, 12-rebound, three-block effort. Though Kwame Brown had one highlight reel dunk on him, Gadzuric helped limit Brown, Wallace, and Amir Johnson to a combined 18 points in 59 minutes.
+19. Plus/minus can often lie, but Iverson's impact off the bench was very accurately represented in his game-high +19 rating.
16. Walter Herrmann killed the Bucks a couple years ago when he was with the Bobs, and his microwave-ish performance off the bench put this one away in the fourth. The Argentine nailed 5/6 from the field (all threes) en route to 16 points in just 18 minutes of action, doing most of his damage off catch-and-shoots following an Iverson drive. Seriously, this dude should automatically go into the starting lineup everytime the Bucks are in town.
- 47-42. The Bucks once again won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Pistons in total and on the offensive glass (16-10). Don't blame Jason Maxiell, though--he seemed to be everywhere in grabbing eight boards (five offensive) to go along with six big blocks.
Return of Redd? It's probably not worth holding your breath, but the word is Michael Redd has been upgraded to probably for tomorrow night's encounter with the Cavs.
- Sessions/Stuckey. The Rodney Stuckey hype machine went into overdrive last spring following a couple solid playoff performances, but I'll gladly take the mostly-unknown Sessions if forced to choose between the 22-year old sophomores. Stuckey actually had one of his better nights of the season so far (12 points, five assists), but look at his body of work and he's still a ways from being a consistent contributor--he's a sub-40% career shooter, doesn't create for others like you'd hope from a PG, and he's gotten absolutely lit up by opposing players this year. Sessions is far from the finished product, but it says a lot about how far he's come that a 21 point effort just seems like another night at the office. Unfortunately, we didn't see the two matched up against one another much tonight.
- (Pass). Lately it seems like I always end up using one of these bullets to say something about the Bucks being competitive in spite of their injuries, but I'm sick of saying that. Wait, did I just say it anyway? Whatever.
- Charlie's hammy. Given the talk of Redd's return, it of course makes sense that the Bucks would lose another rotation player to injury--heaven forbid this team ever get healthy. Villanueva came up lame on a stumbling drive in the final period, heading to the bench immediately for treatment. For what it's worth, Villanueva missed four games over nine days when he first injured his hammy almost three weeks ago.
- Easy buckets. One of the reasons for the Bucks early success--well, competitiveness is probably a better word--has been a little more toughness down low. Yes, they foul like it's going out of style, but at least they seem dedicated to preventing easy buckets for opponents. But losing Bogut has certainly hurt in that department, and tonight the Pistons took full advantage of the Bucks' soft underbelly with a half dozen or so highlight reel dunks courtesy of Maxiell, Amir Johnson, and Kwame Brown.
- Outbenched. None of the Pistons starters went off--the Bucks' depleted starting unit actually outscored them 53-44--but the Pistons simply had too much in reserve. While having Iverson as a sixth man certainly isn't the norm, Detroit also got a combined 30 points (12/18 fg) from Maxiell, Johnson, and Aaron Afflalo in addition to Herrmann's 16. Even with Sessions scoring 21 off the pine for the Bucks, the Pistons held a 63-44 edge in bench points.