It’s official – the Milwaukee Bucks will not end the month of January without a win.
Behind 30 points from Caron Butler – on his own bobblehead night, no less – the Bucks battled back from a 13-point second half deficit to avenge two earlier losses to the Pistons.
Butler hit 12-of-21 shots and grabbed seven rebounds in 32 minutes, his most since playing 40 on Dec. 21. Eight of Butler’s nine missed shots came from beyond the arc, where he made just 2-of-10 attempts.
Brandon Knight added 16 points, (5-17 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 4-8 FT), nine assists and seven rebounds, while Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson chipped in 12 points apiece. Henson sat much of the first half with foul trouble and played just 21 minutes total.
With Larry Sanders and O.J. Mayo both out with flu-like symptoms, Larry Drew opted to start an oversized lineup of Ekpe Udoh, Henson, Ilyasova, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Knight. The decision paid off against a similarly large Detroit starting five that was held to 37 combined points. Prior to the game, Drew stated Sanders’ absence did not affect his decision to start Ilyasova at small forward, but it’s likely not something that will continue considering most teams don’t start a player with Josh Smith’s size at the position.
Detroit was led by 30 points from Brandon Jennings in his second trip to Milwaukee since being shipped to Detroit in the offseason. Jennings hit 11-of-23 field goal attempts on the game, including 3-of-8 from downtown. Milwaukee’s big men held Andre Drummond to 11 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes. When Detroit last came to town on Dec. 4, Drummond went for 24 points, 19 boards, three blocks and a pair of steals. Greg Monroe was limited to just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting, while Rodney Stuckey contributed 23 points in 33 minutes off the bench.
After jumping out to a six-point halftime lead, Detroit led by four entering the fourth quarter. The Bucks tied it up at 89 with 9:17 remaining on a Miroslav Raduljica lay-in and a Luke Ridnour three-pointer four minutes later gave them their first lead of the half. Milwaukee never relinquished the lead, holding on for the 104-101 victory.
– In 26 minutes, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored four points and attempted only three shots. He did grab five rebounds, but the rookie didn’t show the aggression he’s displayed so often this season. Antekounmpo’s minus-18 rating was a team-worst.
– The Bucks’ starting lineup was the team’s 19th in 41 games this season. That’s a lot of lineups.
– Miroslav Raduljica turned in another solid performance after a few consecutive quiet outings. He posted eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 20 minutes.
Points: Jennings (30), Butler (30)
Rebounds: Drummond (12), Raduljica (8)
Assists: Smith (6), Knight (9)
Blocks: Drummond (3), Henson (3)