MILWAUKEE -- Detroit Coach Chuck Daly feels 'lucky' about the Detroit Pistons' 103-99 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night.
'It was complete luck,' Daly said. 'It was two good teams with high intensity. It was a credit to our division.'
Actually, Adrian Dantley, Vinnie Johnson, and Sidney Green helped the Pistons get lucky. Dantley scored 7 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, including three key free throws in the final 1:45. Johnson scored 15 points, including 9 in the fourth quarter that kept Detroit in the game when Milwaukee threatened to blow it open.
Green recorded a career-high 23 rebounds, 13 in the second half, and 9 on the offensive end of the court.
It was the third win in a row for Detroit, 17-9, tying them with Milwaukee, 19-11, for second place in the Central Division. The Bucks have lost three in a row.
Johnson said the Pistons are playing their best ball of the year. 'Right now, we are together and we are playing together,' he said.
The Pistons outscored Milwaukee 11-4 in the final 1:45, led by Isiah Thomas' two layups. Detroit took the lead for good, 98-97, on Dantley's free throw with :33 remaining. Dantley hit another free throw with six seconds left.
Dantley's free throw on a technical foul on Terry Cummings at 1:25 tied the score 95-95 and Thomas hit a layup to put the Pistons ahead for good.
Bucks Coach Don Nelson said the technical came when his team could least afford it. 'We absolutely cannot do that. It puts us in a hole. You have to be a professional and he (Cummings) made an error. Instead of being tied, we were down three.'
Cummings also said he made a mistake. 'I don't normally do that, but I did. I thought the call was bad.'
Green was rolling on the floor after a loose ball when Cummings also grabbed the ball. Instead of calling a jump, the referee gave Detroit a 20-second time out. Cummings slammed the ball on the court, drawing a technical.
Detroit took a 52-41 lead on Bill Laimbeer's 18-foot jump shot with 3:23 left in the second quarter, capping a 14-4 Piston streak. Milwaukee cut the deficit to 56-49 at the half, but shot only 7-16 from the free throw line.
The teams were tied 28-28 at the end of the first quarter.