The Detroit Pistons kept it close against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. If the Pistons want to get a rare victory over the Bucks, however, they’ll have to figure out how to stop Damian Lillard and keep Milwaukee’s stars off the free-throw line on Monday in the second half of a back-to-back between the teams.
Lillard scored a season-high 45 points as the visiting Bucks defeated the Pistons 141-135 on Saturday in Detroit, also the site of Monday’s game
Lillard also supplied 11 assists and six rebounds in his most productive outing since the star guard was acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers prior to the regular season.
Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists on Saturday. The Bucks have won 20 of the past 21 regular-season meetings with the Pistons, including the past eight matchups. They can finish off a sweep of the four-game season series on Monday.
Antetokounmpo, who missed the Bucks’ previous game with a bruised right shoulder, attempted 22 free throws but made only half of them. Lillard knocked down all 16 of his free-throw attempts as the officials awarded Milwaukee 49 shots.
Alec Burks led Detroit with 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Ausar Thompson had a career-high 22 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, whose 85 bench points was an NBA season high.
Thompson, the team’s lottery pick in June, made 10 of 15 field-goal attempts, including both of his 3-point tries.
Detroit also got a boost from veteran forwards Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari, who were acquired from Washington on Jan. 14. Muscala drained all four of his 3-pointers while scoring 13 points in 14 minutes. Gallinari added eight points and three assists in 16 minutes.