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News » PISTONS 107, BUCKS 97 Far from coming together Disjointed defensive effort feeds freefall

PISTONS 107, BUCKS 97 Far from coming together Disjointed defensive effort feeds freefall

PISTONS 107, BUCKS 97  Far from coming together  Disjointed defensive effort feeds freefall
Auburn Hills, Mich. - Coach Scott Skiles sent a direct message to his Bucks players after Milwaukee's 107-97 loss to the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night.

"There is playing time (available) on this team," Skiles said. "It's up for grabs. We're trying to make clear to the guys that whoever wants to get with our program, defend, there's playing time to be had. If anybody wants to do that. We're searching."

The Bucks were again pretty much defenseless as Detroit made eight of its first 11 shots, rang up 62 first-half points, surpassed its season scoring average by 10 and shot 52.6% in the fourth quarter.

Skiles admitted he was considering tinkering with lineups and rotations in an effort to improve the team defensively.

"We've got to find a way," Skiles said. "The issue is, though, even the guys I bring into the game (off the bench aren't much better). . . . It's not like there's a big contrast now."

It was the Bucks' third straight loss and gave them a 1-3 record on their trip and a 7-11 mark overall. It's the first time the Bucks, who will play Cleveland tonight at the Bradley Center, have fallen four games below .500 this season.

Ramon Sessions and Richard Jefferson scored 21 points each for the Bucks, who sputtered all night offensively. Dan Gadzuric had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Charlie Villanueva scored 10 points before leaving the game in the fourth quarter after straining the same hamstring that kept him out of four games earlier this season.

Six players scored in double figures for the Pistons, including Allen Iverson, who didn't start after missing practice Thursday. He scored 17 points, including three jumpers early in the fourth quarter that gave Detroit some breathing room after the Bucks had cut what had been a 13-point, third-quarter deficit to six.

But it was Walter Herrmann who delivered the knockout blow, sinking 4 three-pointers and scoring 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Detroit pull away.

Detroit's first-half point total fell two shy of the high for a half by a Bucks opponent, set by Denver. Detroit led by as many as 15 points in the first half and by 13 at halftime.

"We've got to do better (defensively)," Bucks guard Charlie Bell said. "We're giving up way too much dribble penetration, causing guys to come in and collapse, and they're finding open guys. We have to do a better job of containing the ball and we haven't been doing that.

"I don't know if it's because guys are playing heavy minutes because of injuries and guys are wearing down a little bit. Whatever it is, we have to bear down and do our best to keep the ball in front of us."

Said Villanueva, "We've been struggling. They scored 62 points in a half. That's unacceptable to a team like Detroit. We have injuries, but we can't make excuses. There's opportunities for other guys to step up."

Skiles didn't offer any hints as to how he may shake up the rotation, but that's probably because he didn't know himself. Skiles has hinted that Villanueva might find his way back into the starting lineup, but his status was uncertain after the game. And the Bucks weren't absolutely sure if Michael Redd would be able to return tonight.

But it was clear Skiles is on the lookout for groups that will play defense together.

"For whatever reason, particularly in the last three games, we've lost our will to defend," Skiles said. "We've got to find a way to get it back; otherwise, we won't win."

Copyright 2008, 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.)

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008


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