NBA Central: Bucks Drop Third in a RowBy Daniel J.
With Indiana and Chicago getting the night off on Saturday, the Milwaukee Bucks had an opportunity to pick up some much-needed ground in the Central Division and in the Eastern Conference standings. They even had a good opponent to do it against – division rival Detroit, but alas, the Bucks continued their recent slide, losing their third consecutive game.
Detroit pulled away in the final minute, winning 105-100. Charlie Villanueva broke the the 100-100 tie by hitting a three-point shot with just under ten seconds to play. Then after a Brandon Jennings miss, Rodney Stuckey iced it with two made free-throws.
However, the real star of the show for the Pistons was their new acquisition, Jose Calderon. Calderon, playing in just his fourth game as a Piston since being traded from Toronto, tied his season high with 23 points and also dished out 10 assists while nabbing three steals. Calderon hasn’t been in Detroit long, but is already creating chemistry with his new teammates.
“He’s jelling. He’s jelling,” Villanueva said, via ESPN.com. “He’s a tremendous player. We’re so glad he’s on this team. Finding guys in the right places, very unselfish player. Knows how to play the game. That’s what I expect from him.”
Five other Pistons hit double figures in the team’s third win in four meetings with the Bucks. With an overall record of 20-32, Detroit is still very much on the outside-looking-in concerning the postseason, but another win against the currently eighth-placed Bucks will always help the cause.
Meanwhile on the Milwaukee side, three straight losses and five defeats in their last six games have dropped them to a 25-24 record. Although they are still three games ahead of the 76ers for the final playoff spot in the East, the Bucks understand they have to figure things out soon, or else miss out on the postseason.
“I don’t think I’m reaching when I say we’re obviously not on the same page now,” said Mike Dunleavy, who scored 10 points in the losing effort. “We’re in a funk. Everybody’s got their own little issues.”
The Bucks will continue their three-game homestand on Monday when they take on the Washington Wizards, another team with a winning percentage well under .500. They should be able to turn things around on Monday, they’ll have to find more consistency going forward to complete down the stretch for a playoff spot.