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Knight leads Pistons to 88-80 win over Bucks

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NOAH TRISTER
February 5, 2012
— Brandon Knight learned a harsh lesson earlier in the week when he was shut out in a game at Milwaukee.

"I just remember not coming with a lot of energy, not lifting my teammates up," Knight said. "Me, as a rookie, that's something I've got to be able to do each and every game, no matter who we're playing against."


In a rematch with the Bucks on Friday night, Knight was at his best, scoring a season-high 26 points and helping the Detroit Pistons snap a seven-game losing streak with an 88-80 victory. Knight was outscored 21-0 by Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings in a loss to the Bucks on Monday night, but he looked impressive while turning the tables four days later.


The Bucks had won three straight, including a come-from-behind victory over Miami on Wednesday, but they trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter against the Pistons.


"We were terrible in every aspect of the game. Our effort was horrible as bad as I've seen since I've been here and our execution was very poor on both ends of the floor," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "We've played two good quarters out of the last eight. The other six have been pitiful."


Milwaukee went on an 11-0 run spanning the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, and Detroit led by only four with 2:54 remaining. Knight responded with a floater, followed moments later by a driving shot off the glass, and the Pistons held on.


Knight went 10 of 23 from the field and also had seven assists and no turnovers. Jennings, the opposing point guard, scored 20 points, but only seven after the first quarter.


"I thought Brandon really responded," Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "When you hold a team to 80 points defensively, everyone who is on the floor contributes to that, and that deserves more credit than anything else."


Greg Monroe added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Tayshaun Prince had 13 points for the Pistons. Shaun Livingston was the only other Milwaukee player in double figures with 14 points.


The Pistons led by as many as nine in the first quarter, but Jennings made all five of his shots in the period and it was 26-all after one.


Jennings finished 7 of 19, and the Bucks shot only 35 percent as a team. Milwaukee trailed 51-41 at halftime and never seemed to click offensively after scoring at least 100 points in each of its previous five games.


With Detroit up 58-52, Jennings tried a behind-the-back pass on a 2-on-1 break to Beno Udrih. The play resulted in a turnover, and the Pistons slowly increased their lead.


Knight made a nice bounce pass in transition to Rodney Stuckey for a layup and a 64-53 advantage. Jonas Jerebko made it 70-55 with a dunk.


Milwaukee trailed 72-68 in the fourth, but Monroe scored inside to halt the Bucks' run. That wasn't the last time the Bucks cut the deficit to four. It was 80-76 and 82-78 late in the fourth, but Knight answered both times with a basket.


"He was great tonight," Jennings said. "He was aggressive on offense and he was going for steals on defense. He's a good young player."


In their previous five games, the Pistons had allowed opponents to shoot 46 of 89 from 3-point range. Milwaukee was only 3 of 17 on Friday after making 10 in each of its previous two games.


The Bucks also had only 10 assists after six straight games with at least 20.


NOTES: Detroit is still without G Ben Gordon (shoulder) and F Charlie Villanueva. The team released an update on Villanueva's troublesome right ankle, saying he has a "resolving posterior tibial tenosynovitis with small talotibal spurs." He's expected to need a few weeks of partial immobilization. ... With Vanilla Ice performing at halftime at The Palace, the game drew 13,181.



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