Four minutes of bad basketball at the start the game did the Bucks in.
Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova dragged Milwaukee back into the game late, but Tayshaun Prince won the game for Detroit with two free throws in the final minute.
Despite all the post-game chatter following the Heat game about playing with energy in Detroit, the Bucks started the game flat before most of the 2,000 very dedicated souls who frequent the Palace at Auburn Hill even found their seats.
Brandon Jennings airballed a scoop shot (see right) on the game’s first possession. Subsequent shots weren’t much better. Jason Maxiell coaxed a Luc Mbah a Moute miss by clubbing him in the mouth. Marquis Daniels chunked a three-pointer of the far side of the rim. Ellis took a floater that missed rim. Larry Sanders overshot a putback. Ersan Ilyasova missed a short baseline bunny badly. The Pistons stripped the ball away from Ellis for one basket, then Jennings for another.
The Pistons dropped the Bucks into a 13-0 hole from which they could not recover. At that point, Detroit had 10 rebounds, inlcuding five from Maxiell. The Bucks had just one (by Sanders, erroneously ascribed to Daniels in the boxscore).
The lead hovered around double digits for the rest of the game. Ellis (30 points, 12/22 FG, 9 assists) and Ilyasova (24 points, 9/12 FG, 3/3 3-pt. FG) scored enough points to keep the Bucks close, but the Pistons bludgeoned Milwaukee on the glass. Maxiell and Greg Monroe had ten rebounds apiece as Detroit outrebounded the Bucks by a 47-33 margin.
Monta Ellis had it all in this game, except for a game-tying runner that rimmed out as time expired. The Bucks staged a furious comeback in the final three minutes using three-pointers and a pair of floor-scrambling plays by Ilyasova and Sanders to force Detroit turnovers.
But Prince took Mbah a Moute in the low post, spun baseline and drew a foul as Ilyasova and Sanders fell over each other trying to help. He hit both free throws for the win.
Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t play great defense on the game’s deciding play, but he did do well just to make it back into the game.
WOW, LRMAM just got 3 stitches and is coming in the game RIGHT NOW.
— Cole Brown (@colewbrown) December 31, 2012
For the sake of reference for the next tweet, bear in mind that Mike Dunleavy is 6’8″, Will Bynum is 5’10″ and Dunleavy had a head start.
— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) December 31, 2012
If the core of your team is Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings…
In the five games that Monta Ellis has scored 30+ pts this season, Brandon Jennings has shot 17/74 from the field and Bucks 1-4.
— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) December 31, 2012
And a terrific hashtag. Kudos.
— Colin Deval (@ColinDeval) December 31, 2012