MILWAUKEE (AP) – Hitting a clutch 3-pointer helped Charlie Villanueva forget a critical mistake.
Villanueva big shot with 9.7 seconds left and Rodney Stuckey’s two free throws led the Detroit Pistons past the Milwaukee Bucks 105-100 on Saturday night.
Brandon Jennings, who scored 26 points, took an inbounds pass from Monta Ellis and made a tough fadeaway shot with 47.8 seconds left, but Jose Calderon, who tied his season high with 23 points, came back with a running layup for Detroit that tied it at 100.
After a timeout, the Pistons worked the ball to Villanueva, who got it at the top of the key and swished a 3 with 9.7 seconds left. On the Bucks’ next possession, Jennings fired up a 31-foot 3-point attempt with 3.2 seconds left.
“I was kind of disappointed I made a turnover,” Villanueva said after making a bad pass with less than a minute to play and the game tied at 98. “I was down on that for a little bit, but I jumped on the next play right away.”
Villanueva said his teammates just made the play happen.
“The guys made the right play. I don’t even know who passed it to me,” he said. “Once it hit my hand, I wanted to make sure it went in so they could forget about that turnover I did.”
Stuckey’s two free throws with 1.6 seconds remaining were the final margin.
Calderon could forgive one miscue, but the team couldn’t make another one.
“It doesn’t matter if we make a mistake, everybody is going to make a turnover one time,” he said. “But, don’t make two in a row. Let’s slow down.”
Calderon had 10 assists and three steals in his fourth game since coming to the Pistons in a trade on January 30.
“He’s jelling. He’s jelling,” Villanueva said. “He’s a tremendous player. We’re so glad he’s on this team. Finding guys in the right places, very unselfish player. Knows how to play the game. That’s what I expect from him.”
Stuckey finished with 19 points, Villanueva 18 and Greg Monroe 14 to lead the Pistons to their third win in four meetings against the Bucks this season. Villanueva also had a season-high 13 rebounds. Kyle Singler had 11 points and Will Bynum added 12 to give Detroit six players in double figures.
“Their team was playing harder than us,” Jennings said. “We are not competing to their type of game. It’s going to take a team effort.”
Ersan Ilyasova scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee, which lost its third in a row and fifth out of the last six.
“I don’t think I’m reaching when I say we’re obviously not on the same page now,” Mike Dunleavy said after scoring 10 points. “We’re in a funk. Everybody’s got their own little issues.”
It was the second game Detroit was without rookie big man Andre Drummond, who is expected to miss four to six weeks because of a stress fracture in his back suffered in Sunday’s loss to Los Angeles.
Monroe, starting for Drummond, was not as dominating as he was in Detroit’s 119-109 victory over the short-handed San Antonio Spurs on Friday night when he had 26 points and 16 rebounds.
“As a team, we definitely did a good job of staying poised,” Monroe said. “Obviously, Charlie hit a big shot, but we got some stops late.”
The Bucks were without the injured Larry Sanders, the NBA leader in blocked shots.
Detroit won the battle in the paint with 52 points to Milwaukee’s 38.
Neither team got more than a three-point lead in the fourth.
The Bucks opened the third with a 16-5 run capped by Jennings’ steal and layup that gave the Bucks their biggest lead 72-62 at 6:13. Detroit fought right back with a 19-10 run keyed by Stuckey’s eight points. His two free throws pulled Detroit to 82-81 heading into the fourth.
Milwaukee made it a close game in the second quarter, but couldn’t pull away as the Pistons dominated the paint with 34 points to 18 for the Bucks. Detroit also ran off 16 fastbreak points to five for Milwaukee.
The Bucks erased the Pistons’ 33-22 first-quarter lead and went ahead 56-55 on Ilyasova’s 3-pointer with under a minute to play in the half. Singler answered for Detroit with a jumper from in close that gave the Pistons a 57-56 lead after two quarters.
Calderon and Monroe had 21 points combined in the Pistons’ 33-22 first quarter.
Calderon scored 11 points and had four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Monroe added 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and made three steals. Detroit’s defense hounded the Bucks, forcing eight turnovers and converting them into 14 points. Their offense ran off 16 fastbreak points to none for Milwaukee.
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