AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Detroit Pistons power forward Greg Monroe blasted his team after it allowed Philadelphia to snap its NBA-record-tying losing streak on Saturday. He made sure that it didn’t happen again against the team with the league’s worst record.
Monroe tied his season high with 28 points, and the Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak with a 116-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at The Palace.
Monroe was furious two nights earlier, when the Pistons were blown out 123-98 by the Sixers, who had lost 26 straight games. He ripped them for playing with “absolutely no effort.” He saved them from another embarrassing defeat with his 18-point second half against the Bucks.
“Greg usually has a pretty good matchup at the four spot,” Pistons interim coach John Loyer said. “Greg’s been a very consistent player for us the whole year. You know what you’re going to get out of him every day in practice and in games. We tried to give him the ball a little bit more at the elbow area to give him some space. He didn’t settle for jump shots tonight. He really attacked. I thought he was fabulous.”
Monroe wasn’t impressed with his team’s effort in the first half, when it allowed 19 fast-break points and spotted the Bucks a 61-52 halftime lead. Detroit limited Milwaukee to 32.6 percent shooting from the field and five fast-break points in the second half.
“We’ve got to get back on defense,” said Monroe, who also grabbed 14 rebounds. “A few of those possessions, they got them off of made shots and that’s just unacceptable. We did a good job of not turning the ball (after halftime) and when we scored, everybody made a better effort to get back early.”
Pistons forward Josh Smith also had a big second half, scoring 12 of his 26 points in the final 3:53. Detroit (27-47), which lost eight of its previous nine games, won for just the second time in 38 games after trailing entering the fourth quarter.
“It seemed like every shot he made tonight in the fourth quarter was a big shot,” Monroe said. “We obviously needed it to kind of pull away.”
The Pistons’ other starters also made significant contributions. Point guard Brandon Jennings supplied 20 points and 13 assists, center Andre Drummond collected his Eastern Conference-high 49th double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds, while guard Kyle Singler chipped in 14 points. The Pistons clinched the season series with the Bucks, 3-1.
Milwaukee (14-60) lost for the 10th time in 11 games, reaching the 60-loss mark for the second time in franchise history.
“We just stopped doing the things that we did for three and a half quarters,” Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said. “When you are on the road and do not get the shot that you want, it’s just as good as a turnover. We took some tough shots.”
Ex-Pistons point guard Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 25 points, and he added nine rebounds and seven assists. Guard Ramon Sessions had 20 points and 11 assists, and forward Jeff Adrien added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Monroe’s put-back with 4:28 left put the Pistons in front for good at 99-98. Smith’s dunk and a free throw 35 seconds later stretched the lead to four, and Smith added a jumper with 3:30 left. Monroe’s layup with 2:52 left maintained the six-point advantage, and Smith fired in a 21-footer to make it 108-100. Smith’s 3-pointer and fast-break dunk clinched the victory.
“We just didn’t push the ball like we did in the second quarter,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said of his team’s late-game troubles. “We just didn’t come out with the same energy.”
NOTES: Bucks SG O.J. Mayo did not play for the third straight game because of a sprained right ankle. … Milwaukee’s worst finish was 20-62 in 1993-94. … The Bucks have used 26 different lineups and 16 different starters. … Both teams came into the game with three wins in the month of March. … The Bucks’ lone road victory since the New Year was a 130-110 triumph over Philadelphia on Feb. 24. … Detroit won for the 11th time in its past 15 home games against Milwaukee. … The Pistons allowed their previous two opponents to shoot 53.2 percent while losing by a combined 57 points. “Our true one-on-one defense hasn’t been good all year,” Detroit interim head coach John Loyer said. The Bucks shot just 44.3 percent. … Detroit PF Greg Monroe has 98 double-doubles since the 2011-12 season, the most in the Eastern Conference.
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