Bucks beat Pistons 110-101 at LCA to win 10th straight regular season matchup
Detroit — In the many oddities of the NBA schedule, the Pistons always seem to have something that just seems more odd than normal.
In the first 11 games of the season, they have three meetings with the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference.
They won’t play them again for the remainder of the regular season.
It might be a good thing.
Not counting the playoff series loss in 2019, the Pistons had lost nine straight against the Bucks in the regular season, in what has become one of the lopsided head-to-head matchups in the league.
Make it 10.
As they did in the previous two meetings this season, the Bucks took a double-digit lead early. As they did previously, the Pistons came back and trimmed the lead to single digits.
The result was the same, though, as the Bucks claimed a 110-101 victory on Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
It’s the second straight loss for the Pistons (2-9), who won’t play against until Saturday in Miami because Friday’s home game against the Washington Wizards was postponed because the Wizards have several players in the health and safety protocol.
Jerami Grant had 22 points, for his 10th straight game with 20-plus points. He also became the first Piston to lead the team in scoring in 10 consecutive games since Jerry Stackhouse in 2001-02.
Svi Mykhailiuk added 18 points and Blake Griffin 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Coming off a 1-for-9 performance against the Utah Jazz on Sunday, but found his shooting stroke, going 6-of-9, with two 3-pointers on Wednesday.
“I was really glad to see him bounce back with his confidence. He had a rough night against Utah,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He had the confidence and the swag to come back and not even hesitate, which is what great shooters have to do.”
The Pistons played better defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averaged 34 points in the first two meetings, but the Bucks spread things around. Antetokounmpo finished with a triple-double, with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists
The Bucks (8-4) got going from 3-point range and hit early and often. They finished at 44% for the game (19-of-43), with their first five field goals coming from beyond the arc: three from Brook Lopez (9 points and 11 rebounds), one from Khris Middleton (12 points and six assists) and one from Antetokounmpo.
Bobby Portis added another 3-pointer, part of his nine straight points near the end of the first quarter, before Pat Connaughton added another 3-pointer for a 27-13 lead.
The Bucks stretched the lead in the second quarter, with an 11-1 run, including seven points from Bryn Forbes (13 points) and a three-point play by Holiday.
They took their biggest lead at the 4:49 mark, after Antetokounmpo hit a 3-pointer and on the next trip, split a pair of free throws, for a 52-29 advantage. The Pistons later had a 13-2 run to finish the half and got within 58-47 at halftime.
As they’ve done all season the Bucks pushed the Pistons into tough shots, but the Pistons were able to shoot 39 percent from the field, though they were better from beyond the arc, hitting 40 percent (14-of-35).
“They force you to shoot a lot of midrange shots and floaters, so we try to stay away from that, but during the game, you have to shoot a lot of those,” Mykhailiuk said.
A 3-pointer from Wayne Ellington to open the third quarter trimmed the deficit to single digits, but Antetokounmpo added a dunk and a lay-in to push it back to 12.
The Pistons stayed close, with an 89-75 deficit entering the fourth after two baskets by Mykhailiuk. Saddiq Bey hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth and get within 11, but the Bucks answered with a 3-pointer from Connaughton and a basket by Holiday to keep the lead in double digits.
From there, the Pistons didn’t get back within single digits the rest of the way.
It’s tough on both ends of the court against the Bucks, but the Pistons won’t have to worry about that again this season.