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Detroit Pistons host Milwaukee Bucks, hope to build winning streak

By
Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) is blocked by Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the first half on December 28, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. File photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) is blocked by Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the first half on December 28, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. File photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

The Detroit Pistons put their losing streak to bed on Saturday night. They don't have a lot of time to rest up for their next challenge.

Detroit's six-game slide ended when it snapped Boston's eight-game winning streak with a 113-104 victory at Little Caesars Arena. The Pistons remain home for a Monday night matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, which possesses the Eastern Conference's second-best record.

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"We haven't done anything," Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said during his postgame press conference. "We've got some momentum now but we still have a tough team coming in Monday night. It doesn't get any easier. I told the guys to enjoy it until midnight and think about the things we can do better."

The Pistons (14-13) avoided falling below the .500 mark as their top two players had big nights. Blake Griffin piled up 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Andre Drummond supplied 19 points, 20 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.

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Drummond had a key block in the late going to stall the Celtics' comeback bid. Detroit gave away a 10-point lead at Charlotte in the closing minutes of its previous game.

Casey was impressed with Drummond's overall performance.

"Andre screening and rolling and running the floor, early postups and collapsing the defense, he did an excellent job," he said. "Not only that, he had 20 rebounds and five blocks. That tells you he's really engaged. Andre had one of his better games."

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The return of swingman Reggie Bullock to the lineup provided another outside threat to compliment the inside duo. Bullock scored 15 points after missing five games with an ankle sprain. With Bullock and second-year swingman Luke Kennard in the starting five, Casey is optimistic his team will start making more 3-pointers.

"You have those shooters out there, there's more space," he said.

The Pistons lost in Milwaukee 115-92 during the losing streak. Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe had a team-high 27 points in a game his team controlled most of the way.

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"It's a journey, it's a marathon," Casey said. "We feel good to get the monkey off our back but you can't get too low when you go through a tough stretch because it's a marathon."

Milwaukee (19-9) has won three of its last four, including a 114-102 victory over Cleveland on Friday. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a monster game with 44 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

"I think he was ultra-aggressive," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He's a competitor, he wants to be great. I think any time he doesn't meet the standards and expectations he sets for himself I think the next game he's going to come out with a very aggressive mindset and he did that."

Starters Khris Middleton (right finger sprain) and Malcolm Brogdon (left knee soreness) sat out the game and are questionable to play on Monday.

The finger injury helps explain why Middleton shot 29.3 percent from the field in the previous seven games.

"Certainly Khris is a great player and he's going to start making more shots," Budenholzer told the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. "He started the season incredibly hot, so I think we have a lot of faith that he's going to return to that. But you know, he's human, so he's just got to keep working and he'll fight his way through it."

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