The Milwaukee Bucks snapped out of their home funk Saturday night, easily dispatching an improved Detroit Pistons team 101-86. The win put the Bucks back to .500 at home (10-10) and one game above .500 overall at 22-21.
Milwaukee jumped out to a 13-8 lead on strong shooting starts from Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton, who combined for 11 of the team's 23 first quarter points. Though Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond collected five offensive rebounds in the quarter, Milwaukee did a decent job of limiting the damage after the rebound. That is, until the big alley-oop from Brandon Jennings to Drummond.
Shortly after this highlight play, the Bucks offense sputtered while the Pistons offense began to click. Detroit cleaned up their early sloppy play and finished the quarter on a 20-10 run, led by Drummond (8p/4r) and Anthony Tolliver (6p). The Pistons made seven of their final 13 shots to grab the 28-23 lead.
The Bucks bench unsurprisingly got the wheels greased a bit in the second quarter, and the result was a 40-21 scoring advantage. The bench had 25 of those 40 points en route to a 63-49 lead at the half.
A 10-4 run by Milwaukee tied the game up at 36 but was blown open when O.J. Mayo decided that missing baskets was overrated. Mayo connected on three consecutive triples in less than one minute and suddenly the Bucks had a 54-40 lead. Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight joined Mayo in double digit scoring in the second half, each with 11 points.
The Pistons offense sputtered a bit in the second, and they finished the first half with only 8 assists. After a strong first quarter, Andre Drummond didn't play much in the second quarter, finishing the half with a team-high 10p/5r. Greg Monroe continued to feast on the glass, snatching three more offensive rebounds en route to 10 boards for the half.
The game really broke open in the third quarter when the Bucks came out scorching, drilling their first four three pointers. Knocking down open shots was one thing, but the distribution was equally evident.
Bucks assisted on 5 of 11 FGs in first quarter. Have assisted on 21 of 22 since.— Bradford Doolittle (@bbdoolittle) January 25, 2015
The 11 assists in the third quarter bumped the Bucks assist total up to 29. Through three quarters, the Bucks had assisted on 80% of their made field goals.
With the game in hand, the Bucks cooled off considerably in the fourth, scoring just 10 points in the quarter compared to the Pistons' 19. The Bucks had not scored 100 or more points in 2015, but saw themselves at 99 with 6:16 left in the game. They got close to comically coming up short of that mark, but a Mayo basket with 1:13 left put them over 100. The Pistons made a small run but it never threatened the Bucks' lead, as Milwaukee came away with an easy 101-86 victory.
Mayo led the Bucks with 20 points on 8-14 shooting while going 4-5 from deep. He was followed by solid performances from Khris Middleton (16p/7r/4a) and Brandon Knight (14p/6r/5a). The Bucks also set a new season high in assists with 33.
Brandon Jennings led the Pistons with 16p/4a, but left the game late in the third after suffering what the Pistons are calling a left leg injury. Jennings went down writhing in pain after awkwardly planting his left foot, and he eventually had to be carried off the court and carted into the locker room in a wheelchair.
Anthony Tolliver was Detroit's next leading scorer with 12, and Greg Monroe chipped in with 8p/16r--10 of which were on the offensive glass).
The Bucks won't have much time to breathe after snapping their home skid, as they'll get on a plane tonight and go up against the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs tomorrow in Texas.