After coming up empty on their three-game road trip, the injury-plagued Milwaukee Bucks will look to get back on track against the Detroit Pistons.
The Bucks try for a season-best third consecutive home victory when they face the Pistons on Saturday night.
Following losses at the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix, short-handed Milwaukee (19-29) fell 100-94 at Golden State on Thursday night due in part to a poor defensive effort.
“We just had a couple breakdowns defensively, especially at the end, where we couldn’t get a stop,” said Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who had 15 points and a career-best 19 rebounds. “… That didn’t work out for us tonight and we just need to make sure we close out games better, and seize the moment when we have opportunities.”
Playing without starting center Andrew Bogut for the second consecutive game, the Bucks went 6 of 23 from 3-point range and finished their trip shooting 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Bogut, averaging 13.4 points and a team-best 11.7 rebounds, hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 105-98 loss to the Clippers and his status for this game is unknown. The Bucks have lost six of nine this season with Bogut on the sidelines.
Ersan Ilyasova continued his impressive play of late with 23 points and 13 rebounds Thursday. Ilyasova is averaging 18.4 points – 8.5 more than his season mark – over his last five games.
Brandon Jennings, though, was held to two points on 1-of-6 shooting in his fourth game back since missing 19 with a broken foot. Jennings, who leads the team with 16.2 points per game, has averaged just 5.5 on 25.0 percent shooting from the floor since his return.
He averaged 21.0 points in two home matchups versus the Pistons last season and registered 25 in a 103-89 road loss Nov. 26. Milwaukee had lost five of six home meetings with Detroit before splitting the last two.
The Pistons (18-32), meanwhile, ended a four-game losing streak with a 92-82 victory over New Jersey on Friday night despite the absence of Rodney Stuckey.
Tayshaun Prince scored 22 points while rookie Greg Monroe had a career-high 20 on 10-of-14 shooting with 11 rebounds. Monroe, who was inserted into the starting lineup Jan. 12, has recorded double-digit points in 12 of his last 16 games.
“He’s such a refreshing player to be around,” coach John Kuester said. “It’s pretty impressive to see him continue to grow.”
Stuckey, scoring a team-high 15.3 points per game, missed his fourth consecutive contest since suffering a right shoulder contusion during a 109-100 loss Jan. 26 versus Denver. He has averaged 17.0 points in his last four games versus Milwaukee but his status for this one has yet to be determined.
Richard Hamilton, who was benched last month and hasn’t played since Jan. 10, was left off the active roster Friday in what Kuester called an internal decision.
“I think it’s just a slap in the face,” center Ben Wallace said. “What’s he going to do now? Of course he’s not going to play. If you call him and ask him to play now – it’s personal. Now he’s not going to play. I think you’re going to have to trade him now.”
Detroit is averaging 89.6 points over its last nine games and could have trouble scoring against a Bucks team allowing 90.4 points per game at home – third fewest in the league.
Milwaukee won its last two home games against Atlanta and New Jersey, allowing an average of 85.5 points.
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