With Drummond sharp at the line, Pistons beat Bucks

November 4, 2017 GMT

Detroit — Andre Drummond, free-throw taker.

Andre Drummond, free-throw maker.

The days of Drummond being a liability at the free-throw line appear to be over.

Drummond had the best night at the line in his career, hitting 14 in 16 attempts and keying a breakout offensive effort, with a season-high 24 points and adding 15 rebounds.

Along with some stingy defense and timely hustle plays, the Pistons had enough to hold off the Milwaukee Bucks for a thrilling 105-96 victory on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 105, Bucks 96

Avery Bradley added 23 points and Tobias Harris 13 for the Pistons, who improved to 6-3 and have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind the 6-2 Boston Celtics.

The Pistons did a good job trying to contain superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 29 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Bucks (4-5).

Bucks are a difficult team to beat when Antetokounmpo gets going. He entered the game as the league’s leading scorer, at 31.3 points.

So the Pistons played some of their best stretches against the Bucks without Antetokounmpo — that is, when he was on the bench.

The Pistons’ reserves feasted with the Bucks’ superstar out of the game, taking an 11-point halftime lead and holding during a furious Bucks run in the final period.

The bench spurred the Pistons, who started the fourth quarter with a 9-1 run, then got a step-back jumper from Stanley Johnson (eight points), a jumper from Ish Smith (10 points, four assists), a 3-pointer by Langston Galloway and another jumper from Johnson.

The Bucks started the comeback with a four-point play by Thon Maker and a lay-in by Khris Middleton (16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists), to trim the lead to 10.

That’s where Drummond filled in for his unlikely role as a free-throw catalyst. He hit two, then after a reverse by Malcolm Brogdon (21 points), added a pair to keep the lead at 12. Drummond converted 10 of 12 free throws in the third quarter, when the Pistons maintained their double-digit lead.

Drummond entered the game at 14-of-20 from the line and matched his season total for makes in one game, improving his season average to 78 percent.

Antetokounmpo made six of the last eight points for the Bucks, but the lead stayed in double digits until the final two minutes, when Reggie Jackson (nine points, eight assists) added a coast-to-coast dunk to put an exclamation point on the second straight home win, following a successful 2-1 road trip.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard