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News » PISTONS 105, BUCKS 96 Motor City meltdown Detroit dominates Bucks in all phases

PISTONS 105, BUCKS 96 Motor City meltdown Detroit dominates Bucks in all phases

PISTONS 105, BUCKS 96  Motor City meltdown  Detroit dominates Bucks in all phases By CHARLES F. GARDNER

Auburn Hills, Mich. - A better defensive effort was the primary discussion for the Milwaukee Bucks entering their game against Detroit on Friday night.

But it didn't translate into action as the Pistons dominated the Bucks from start to finish in claiming a 105-96 victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Bucks coach Scott Skiles was suspended for the game and wasn't around to see the Pistons shoot 57.4% and dominate the rebounding battle (46-30) and the points in the paint (46-20).

But it was painful enough for Bucks assistant Jim Boylan, who directed the team and watched it fall back to the .500 mark at 9-9.

"They just dominated us with their physicality all night long," Boylan said. "They dominated us on the glass; their backcourt dominated us. We've been doing a lot of talking lately about our defense and about our approach to the game.

"That's all it was, talk, because we certainly didn't bring it to the court tonight."

Point guard Chucky Atkins set the tone by attacking Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings and scoring 10 points in the first quarter, and after that the guard corps of Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum took over.

Stuckey finished with 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and all the guards combined effectively with frontcourt players Ben Wallace (11 points, 11 rebounds) and Jonas Jerekbo (16 points, seven rebounds).

"The first thing that jumps out at you is the physical size," Boylan said of the Pistons' guards. "Having coached Ben Gordon in Chicago, I know that he's made of granite. When you look at Bynum, you see the same kind of makeup.

"And Stuckey's got the size and the strength. They showed it tonight and they have in the past. It's been a problem for us and we have to figure out a way to overcome it."

Luke Ridnour led the Bucks with 21 points and nine assists while playing just 27 minutes.

But it was a forgettable night for center Andrew Bogut, who struggled for the second straight game and had eight points and five rebounds after being held scoreless in the first half.

"He (Wallace) killed me basically, and I've just got to try to get out of this rut I'm in," Bogut said. "The last two games I've played terribly, and I've got to re-evaluate and come out with more energy next game.

"There's no excuse. We have a big game on Sunday at home (against Cleveland), and I need to step it up."

Bogut often struggled against the defensive-minded Wallace in the Detroit center's earlier days with the Pistons.

"Ben has given him problems, but at some point in time you've got to break through that," Boylan said. "You play against a guy enough that he shouldn't have that effect on you game after game after game.

"Andrew is a legitimate, big-time NBA center and he has to figure out how to play against certain people. And to continually have that happen, you've got to make a change right there. It's up to Andrew to adjust the way he plays against Ben and do a better job."

The tone was set for the night when the Pistons raced to a 34-23 lead after the opening quarter. It was 63-55 at halftime, and while the Bucks made a last-ditch effort behind Jennings, it was too late.

"We set the tone for the game by giving up 34 points," Ridnour said. "We just let them know, 'Hey, do whatever you want,' and they did. We've got to come out and compete and play better."

It was a largely frustrating night for Jennings, who had 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds but hit just 6 of 20 shots. He hit a pair of threes late in the fourth quarter and drew a technical foul against Stuckey after the two tussled for the ball.

"We fought to the end, but I think we waited too long," Jennings said.

Detroit improved to 7-12 and 5-4 on its home court.

"We were locked into what we wanted to accomplish," said Pistons coach John Kuester. "Jennings, I know he made a few baskets at the end, but we really held him in check and we did a great job on the boards."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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