Late Saturday: Jackson leads Pistons to win over Bucks

MILWAUKEE -- Saturday night won't go down as the Detroit Pistons' most well-rounded performance of the season, but they did enough good things at the right times against the Milwaukee Bucks to make their 102-91 victory look fairly easy.Point guar...

MILWAUKEE - Saturday night won’t go down as the Detroit Pistons’ most well-rounded performance of the season, but they did enough good things at the right times against the Milwaukee Bucks to make their 102-91 victory look fairly easy.
Point guard Reggie Jackson led the way with 22 points and eight assists for a Pistons’ offense that produced five double-figure scorers despite only shooting 42 percent from the field.
Most of the production came in the first half, as Detroit knocked down 11 of 29 3-point attempts and produced assists on 17 of 23 field goals.
The 3-pointers proved to be crucial, too, as the Bucks hit 20 of 37 shots, including four from long distance, but went into the break down 10.
“Those guys have made a conscious effort to get more ball movement,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “They’ve played much more unselfishly and I think Reggie has gotten it started by being a much more willing passer, particularly early in games.”
The Pistons’ offense almost disappeared from there. Detroit would make just one 3-pointer the rest of the game and shot just 39 percent from the field but stepped up its game on the defensive end, holding Milwaukee to 44 percent shooting and forcing 12 turnovers which the Pistons turned into 13 points.
While Detroit played its best offense in the first quarter, it saved its strongest defensive effort for the fourth, holding the Bucks to 7-of-22 shooting and six more turnovers.
“That was our best stretch of defense,” Van Gundy said. “The first eight minutes of the fourth quarter. I thought our fourth quarter defense is what got us. Our offense was struggling but we did a real good job defensively.”
In all, Milwaukee turned it over 21 times for 23 points while the Pistons gave up only six points on 11 miscues.
“The last two games, turnovers have hurt us and put us in a hole,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We have to take care of the ball. When we did, we were able to make plays for one another. But then we dribbled the ball up half court and turned it over with no one playing defense.”
Shooting guard Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 26 points. He hit 11 of 20 shots and a pair of 3-pointers with seven rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot in 39 minutes of work. The Bucks also got 13 from forward Jabari Parker and 10 apiece from centers Miles Plumlee and Greg Monroe.
“We have to come out with more energy from the get-go,” Plumlee said. We’re fighting to get back into these games. We have to come out with energy in our coverages, finish on the rebounds ... all facets of the game.”
Center Andre Drummond got the Pistons off to a strong start, scoring 10 of his 15 points with nine rebounds, an assist, a steal and a blocked shot in the first quarter. Forward Tobias Harris also scored eight of 15 in the quarter, as did guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who finished with 12.
“Our offense really flourished tonight,” Jackson said. “We’re just going to keep attacking. We’re just trying to play to our strengths and go from there.”
Detroit extended its winning streak to three games while Milwaukee has lost two in a row after winning four of five.
Forward Steve Novak, who the Bucks signed earlier in the week, had to be helped off the floor after injuring his left knee while colliding with Jackson late in the fourth quarter. Head coach Jason Kidd said the initial diagnosis was a sprained knee and that Novak will undergo an MRI examination on Sunday.

NOTES: Milwaukee went 7-for-12 on 3-point attempts Saturday, and the 58.3 percent success rate marks the team’s third-highest 3-point percentage this season. ... F Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with eight points and 12 rebounds but also dished out seven assists, marking the third straight game he’s finished with seven or more. Prior to that streak, he’d only hit that mark in three games this season. ... Detroit’s 11 3-pointers in the first half matched a team high for the season. ... G Jerryd Bayless (sprained right knee) and F John Henson (sore back) remained sidelined for the Bucks. ... C Andre Drummond finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds, giving him his league-leading 24th game with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. He also matched a season-high with four steals. ... Detroit had lost four in a row at the Bradley Center coming into the game and hadn’t won in Milwaukee since Dec. 4, 2013. With the victory, the Pistons took a 2-1 lead in the season series.

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