Pistons fall to Bucks, finish trip 0-4
Milwaukee — It’s tough to go on a long trip and come home emptyhanded. But the Pistons will do just that — with no wins and some baggage to sort through.
They embarked on the trip with a tough task on their four-game road slate, with all four games coming against teams with winning records. The Pistons returned without a win, dropping their fourth straight, to the Milwaukee Bucks, 104-100, on Wednesday at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Andre Drummond had a season-high 27 points, with 20 rebounds and six assists, Tobias Harris added 21 points and Avery Bradley 20 for the Pistons (14-10), who don’t get a break, with home matchups against the defending-champion Golden State Warriors on Friday and Boston Celtics on Sunday.
The Bucks (13-10) dominated the start of the fourth quarter, holding the Pistons without a field goal for almost seven minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo (25 points, nine rebounds and four assists) had five points during the flurry, with a 3-pointer by Rashad Vaughn (11 points).
BOX SCORE: Bucks 104, Pistons 100
The run ended on a jumper by Harris, followed by a putback from Drummond. Bradley added a three-point play and Drummond split a pair of free throws to trim the lead to six.
Milwaukee got the lead to eight, but Drummond got a lay-in and Harris a 3-pointer off a pass from Drummond to trim it to 95-92 at the 1:17 mark, but Eric Bledsoe (22 points) hit a critical 3-pointer to keep the Pistons at bay.
The Bucks got a combined 68 points from their trio of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Bledsoe, who carried them down the stretch, scoring their last 17 points. The Pistons got within two on a 3-pointer by Bradley with 21.5 seconds remaining, but they had to foul and Middleton and Bledsoe went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line the rest of the way.
The Pistons gave up 30 points in each of the first two quarters and the Bucks shot 54 percent from the field in the half, including 43 percent (6-of-14) on 3-pointers. Milwaukee finished at 49 percent from the field.
More observations from the Pistons-Bucks matchup:
■During the trip, the Pistons had their troubles with rebounding, on both ends of the court. In many cases, the opponents crashed the boards with all five players, while the Pistons depended on Drummond to carry the load, especially on the defensive glass. They turned things around, getting more than 10 offensive rebounds for the first time in the last seven games, finishing with 14.
■Van Gundy went back to his regular starting lineup, featuring Stanley Johnson at small forward. The switch in the Spurs game was just for a defensive matchup between Anthony Tolliver and LaMarcus Aldridge.
■Antetokounmpo celebrated his 23rd birthday Wednesday, getting a video tribute with greetings from friends, fans and athletes in his native country of Greece, with the salutations in both English and Greek.
■Bledsoe had a rough go in the second meeting, his first with the Bucks, on Nov. 15. He went 4-of-12 from the field and had 14 points. He found his shot Wednesday, going 6-of-10 for 14 points in the first half.
■Stanley Johnson finished 0-of-8 from the field, his worst game since going 0-of-13 in the opener. He added eight rebounds and five assists and had a plus-4 rating.