Milwaukee did just that Tuesday night, and Joe Smith had 18
points, including a three-point play with 59 seconds left, in the
Bucks' 83-78 victory over the Pistons.
Billups (19.1 points) and Hamilton (18.0) combine for 37 points
a game, the second-leading scoring backcourt in the NBA. Hamilton
had 17 points, but Milwaukee held Billups to seven points on
"They didn't really have stellar nights, either one of them,
and that's all we can ask for," Milwaukee guard Michael Redd said.
"If we can control their scoring, our chances of winning the game
are pretty good. That was the difference."
The third guard on the Pistons, Chucky Atkins, missed 10 of 14
shots and scored 10 points. The trio of Detroit guards made only 14
of 41 shots in the game.
"With us, because we have so many guys who can do so many
things offensively, a lot of the times we rely on our offense to
get our defense going," Atkins said. "We've got to start off
defensive-minded and do what those guys did to us. They made it
hard for us to get off shots."
Redd had 18 points, and Smith added a season-high 17 rebounds
for Milwaukee, which climbed back to .500 for the first time since
Dec. 2, improving to 14-14 with its fifth win in seven games.
"I'm pleased with our record," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter
said. "We've had injuries and you can't predict those. Who knows
what our record would be if we had everybody healthy?"
Ben Wallace had 16 points and 20 rebounds, and Mehmet Okur had
12 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, which has lost six of eight.
"Everyone was kind of lethargic," Pistons' coach Larry Brown
said. "But give them credit. They made shots and executed."
Billups' jumper with 1:20 left pulled Detroit to 79-75. Redd
then missed a baseline shot, but Smith grabbed the rebound and
scored. He was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to
give the Bucks an 82-75 lead with 59 seconds to go.
Wallace was fouled, but missed both free throws with 51 seconds
left, and T.J. Ford made a free throw with 16 seconds to go for an
83-75 lead. Wallace hit a 3-pointer for the final margin.
The Bucks took a 75-61 lead on Desmond Mason's baseline runner
with 7:12 left, but Detroit ran off nine consecutive points, capped
by Wallace's two free throws, to make it 75-70 with 4:34 to go.
Milwaukee held Detroit to 12-of-46 shooting from the field in
the first half and led 43-31 at halftime behind Smith's 11 points
and 10 rebounds.
Game Notes: Pistons F Corliss Williamson missed the game due to a
family matter, the team said. ... The Pistons' 31 first-half points
tied a season-low, also done Dec. 9 against Philadelphia. ... The
Bucks were 12-16 after 28 games last season, but still made the
playoffs. ... The Pistons made only 36 percent of their field goals
(32-for-79), a season-low percentage. ... Bucks F Tim Thomas was
suffering from flu-like symptoms and played only 5 minutes in the