A strong 25 point first quarter, followed up by a 16 point second quarter that saw the Pistons make zero field goals for nearly six minutes had the Pistons trailing the home team Milwaukee Bucks 49-41 at the half. The Pistons outscored the Bucks 25-20 in the first quarter by pounding the ball in the paint, they fell behind in the second quarter by allowing the Bucks to push them out of the lane into low percentage jump shots. Those observations didn't go unnoticed as the Pistons opened the second half with a recommitment to the offensive low-post. Opening up the game, and putting the Bucks away by a final count of 103-87.
Greg Monroe posted a game-high 26 points, grabbing 11 rebounds along the way. Monroe did most of his damage in the third quarter, putting up 12 points in the quarter with all but two points coming in lay-up situations on the block. Milwaukee's bigs couldn't handle Monroe's low-post attack and the Bucks trotted out a slew of big men in an attempt to throw Monroe off of his game. Throughout the game Ekpe Udoh, Samuel Dalembert, Drew Gooden, and the ineffective starter Larry Sanders were all given turns to figure out a way to slow down Monroe. It didn't work. Monroe was, in a word, dominant.
Brandon Knight recovered nicely from his four turnover, single assist game against Charlotte on Sunday night. Knight scored 20 points going against Milwaukee's electric Brandon Jennings, and more impressively Knight dished out five assists with zero turnovers. Offensively, Knight had both his dribble drive and outside jump shot going, putting in nine points from beyond the arch.
One of the main concerns for the Pistons coming into the game was how well Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler were going to handle the Bucks duo of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Jennings and Ellis average nearly 40 points per game together, but Knight and Singler made sure to keep the Bucks duo bothered while both backcourts were on the court. Knight did a nice job of keeping Jennings off his game, holding Jennings to 15 points just one game after Jennings dropped 35 points on the Chicago Bulls. Singler had some trouble keeping up with the quicker Ellis, but eventually was able to work his size to an advantage as Ellis was kept to just 13 points.
The bench posted a solid 31 points, but as many of their points came in the latter parts of the fourth quarter, the heroes of Friday's game were the starting five. The Pistons will only have the night to rest with the Utah Jazz coming into the Palace of Auburn Hills tomorrow night. That game tips off at 7:30 pm.
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