Leuer starts; Bucks beat Pistons
The rookie from the University of Wisconsin helped the Bucks take an early lead and then turned it over to veteran guards Brandon Jennings and Stephen Jackson as the Bucks held off the Detroit Pistons, 102-93, on Thursday night.
Leuer scored seven of his 15 points in the first quarter. He also had six rebounds.
“It is no different than coming off the bench,” Leuer said. “It is always nice to have a few good things happen early and get in a rhythm. We got a nice lead, but they came back and then our big guys took over and we made a few more plays.”
The big guys were Jennings and Jackson, who both made key plays in the fourth quarter after Detroit trimmed the Bucks’ lead. Jennings led the Bucks with 27 points and Jackson added 25 points, one game after scoring a season-high 34 points.
The game was only the second in the shot-clock era without a missed free throw. The Bucks were 17 of 17 and the Pistons 24 of 24. The other game was Dec. 22, 2000, when Atlanta and Toronto hit all 16 free throws shot in the game.
Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince hit a three-pointer from the corner to cut it to 94-89 with 2:36 remaining, then made a jumper with 1:23 left to trim the lead to three.
Jennings hit a driving layup with 1:08 remaining. Prince missed a shot from the corner, and Leuer scored on a dunk off a pass from Jackson with 25.6 seconds to go to give the Bucks a 98-91 lead. Jennings then hit four straight free throws to close out the Bucks scoring.
Jennings said he recently asked Phoenix point guard Steve Nash how he had won two Most Valuable Player awards and Nash told him it was due to “making plays down the stretch.”
“That is something I worked on this summer,” Jennings said. “Not always shooting, but making plays for everyone to make sure we get the best shot when it really counts.”
Bucks coach Scott Skiles said Jennings was key in the Bucks getting the win.
“I thought he made good decisions with the ball and for the most part shot when he should have shot it,” he said.
The Bucks improved to 4-0 at home and 4-6 overall, while the Pistons dropped to 2-9 with their sixth straight loss and fifth in a row on the road. Detroit last lost six straight from March 13-April 3, 2010.
Skiles became the 39th coach in NBA history to reach 400 victories. He is 400-388.
Greg Monroe led the Pistons with a career-high 32 points and had 16 rebounds. Rookie point guard Brandon Knight added 20 points.
“I just took what they gave me,” Monroe said. “I was just able to knock down some open jump shots and get to the rim. I was just reading how they were playing me, trying to make plays and be patient.”
Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said he thought his team had played better than in recent games.
“There are no consolation prizes, but there was a different spirit out there a different fight out there,” he said.
The Pistons went on an 8-0 run late in the second quarter to grab a 41-40 lead when Prince hit a short jumper with 2:12 remaining. It was the Pistons’ first lead in more than 150 minutes and nearly 13 quarters. Detroit last led 30-27 against New York with 10:56 left in the second quarter Saturday.
The Bucks responded with 12-2 run, with Carlos Delfino hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 52-43.