The Milwaukee Bucks look to extend their winning streak to three games and avenge a recent loss to the Detroit Pistons when the two Central Division rivals clash Friday night at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee suffered a 96-94 loss at Detroit on Dec. 30, but has still prevailed in three of the previous five matchups between the teams. The Pistons are winless in three consecutive visits to Brew City.
The Bucks made it two wins in a row following a four-game slide with a 104-96 victory against the Chicago Bulls, another Central nemesis. Brandon Jennings led the charge with 35 points, six assists and six rebounds, while Mike Dunleavy scored 16 points and Monta Ellis added 14 points, five boards, five steals and five assists in the win. Ellis is probable Friday with balky ankle.
"It's Chicago, it's a division rival so this is a huge win for us," said Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan, who is 2-0 since taking over for Scott Skiles. "This gives us a series edge right now and those are important down the stretch."
Milwaukee blocked 15 shots and made 10-of-22 3-pointers. It shot 46.4 percent for the game and rallied from 15 points down in the first quarter. Larry Sanders had seven blocks and 12 rebounds for the Bucks, who went 2-0 in the Windy City in a season since 2000-01. The athletic Sanders has recorded five consecutive games with four or more blocks.
Milwaukee ranks first in the NBA in blocks per game with 7.65.
Meanwhile, Boylan will try to join Terry Stotts, George Karl and Chris Ford as the only Milwaukee coaches to start out 3-0. After Friday's game, the Bucks, who are 10-8 as the host, will open a four-game road trip against the Raptors, Lakers, Suns and Blazers.
Detroit looks to get back on track after having a four-game winning streak halted with Sunday's 108-101 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Tayshaun Prince scored a game-high 21 points to go along with seven boards, while Greg Monroe and Rodney Stuckey scored 18 points apiece. Monroe also finished with 14 rebounds and six assists for the Pistons, who were denied their first five-game winning streak since 2009 and had won six of seven.
"They just kept coming and coming," Pistons guard Will Bynum said of the Bobcats. "Defensively, we weren't as sharp as we normally are. We've just got to go back to the drawing board and be better in that department."
The Pistons still shot 50 percent for the game, but made just 8-of-26 3- pointers. Twenty-two Detroit turnovers led to 26 Charlotte points. On a more positive note from the loss, the Pistons scored a season-high 60 first-half points and are averaging 51.5 bench points per game.
Detroit, which is just 3-14 as the visitor, will return to Auburn Hills tonight for a four-game homestand versus Utah, New York, Boston and Orlando.