Monroe, Knight lead the Pistons past Bucks, 103-87
MILWAUKEE Defense has been a problem for the Detroit Pistons on the road. Against the Milwaukee Bucks, they had no trouble.
Greg Monroe had 26 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Knight added 20 points and Detroit beat Milwaukee 103-87 on Friday night to hand interim coach Jim Boylan his first loss with the Bucks.
The Pistons had been allowing 100.1 points per game on the road, but turned up the defensive pressure and took Milwaukee out of its game in the second half.
"The third quarter was terrific," Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "We were able to score off of our defense and hold them to 11 points. Greg and Brandon were exceptional. Ball movement, spacing, the stops, limiting them to one shot and out. It was a tremendous third quarter."
Coach Scott Skiles and the Bucks mutually decided to part ways Monday. Boylan, a longtime NBA assistant who had been with Skiles in Phoenix and Chicago, took over and won his first game in charge Tuesday when the Bucks beat Phoenix 108-99.
Then, after trailing by 15, Milwaukee rallied to win 104-96 at Chicago on Wednesday.
But it was a different story Friday night. Knight and Monroe keyed the attack as the Pistons outscored Milwaukee 33-11 in the third quarter to take a 14-point advantage into the fourth.
The Pistons opened with a 23-5 run and took a 64-54 lead on Knight's three free throws. Brandon Jennings was called for a foul on Knight and picked up a technical arguing the call. Knight made the technical and then the two free throws. He led the comeback with 10 points and Monroe added eight.
"We did a good job of coming out and focusing on defense first (and) executing on offense," Monroe said after his 13th double-double of the season and sixth 20-10 game. "It's definitely something we can look at and build on."
Contributions from everyone helped Detroit erase the Bucks' 49-41 halftime lead.
"Just, the guys were open and a lot of good opportunities, transitions," Knight said. "We were able to get stops. It always starts with stops. I was able to push it, slow down a little bit and see where guys were open at. Our guys just did a great job just finishing around the basket and playing with a lot of energy."
Detroit led 74-60 going into the fourth quarter and squashed any hope of a Bucks comeback when Monroe scored on a hook shot, layup and dunk and Knight added a 3-pointer as the lead grew to 83-62 with 9:57 to play.
Rodney Stuckey's 3 gave the Pistons another 21-point lead with 2:48 to go, and the Bucks didn't get closer than 14 again.
Jennings and Beno Udrih each had 15 points for Milwaukee.
The Pistons improved to 4-14 on the road and snapped a three-game losing streak in Milwaukee. The Bucks helped out by shooting 39.6 percent.
Detroit hadn't played since Sunday when the Charlotte Bobcats' 108-101 victory snapped its four-game winning streak.
Larry Sanders said the Bucks might have been a little fatigued, but that wasn't the key.
"(They) kind of wanted it more than us," Sanders said.
The Bucks' bench provided most of the energy during a 14-0 spurt midway through the second quarter. Ersan Ilyasova's baseline layup capped the surge and gave Milwaukee a 42-31 lead. Udrih keyed the attack, scoring seven points while John Henson added four.
Udrih's falling-down jumper in traffic gave Milwaukee a 49-39 margin. Knight's floater just before the half ended made it 49-41.
NOTES: Rookie big man Andre Drummond, who had 11 rebounds for Detroit, has at least 10 boards in six of his last seven games. ... Sanders has blocked at least one shot in 22 consecutive games. ... Both teams shot poorly in the first quarter. The Bucks were 8 of 22 from the floor while Detroit was 9 of 22. ... Detroit's Tayshaun Prince is one of seven active NBA players who have spent 10-plus consecutive seasons with the same team. ... Boylan previously replaced Skiles as Bulls coach at midseason in 2007-08, but was fired at the end of that season after guiding Chicago to a 24-32 record.