Bucks hold on to even series
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Michael Redd scored 26 points and Toni
Kukoc contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, as the Milwaukee Bucks held on
to defeat the Detroit Pistons, 92-88, in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference
quarterfinal series at The Palace.
Milwaukee rebounded from a 26-point loss to the Pistons in Game 1 to even the
best-of-seven series at one game apiece. The scene now shifts to the Bradley
Center for Game 3 on Saturday.
“It’s not different than us getting blown out in game one. It’s a win and it’s
a good win for us on the road,” said Milwaukee head coach Terry Porter. “Game
three is going to be a huge challenge. Detroit is going to come out running
and really be determined and focused, and we have to come out with as great as
game as we did tonight.”
Desmond Mason also netted 15 points for the Bucks, who have won six straight
Game 2s in the playoffs.
Joe Smith and Brevin Knight each had 11 points for Milwaukee, which became the
first team in the 2004 playoffs to post a road victory after 13 consecutive
wins by the host club. Smith also grabbed 13 boards.
Chauncey Billups paced Detroit with 20 points. Richard Hamilton scored 18
points for the Pistons, before fouling out with 4:58 remaining in the fourth
Rasheed Wallace collected 16 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, which lost
for just the second time in nine all-time playoff games versus the Bucks.
Tayshaun Prince also had 16 points in the loss.
Kukoc’s three-pointer sparked a 15-7 run that staked the Bucks to a seemingly
comfortable 87-72 advantage with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter.
However, Detroit stormed back and closed within 90-88 on Mike James’ driving
layup with 34.6 seconds remaining. Lindsey Hunter and Wallace each hit three-
pointers during the 16-3 burst.
On Milwaukee’s next possession, Knight missed a shot, but Damon Jones got the
offensive rebound and was fouled with 9.5 seconds left. Jones then missed both
attempts from the line and Detroit got the ball back with a chance to tie or
take the lead.
Wallace received a pass in the corner, but lost control of the ball as he was
going up for a shot. The ball went out of bounds for a turnover and the Bucks
took over with 4.1 seconds left. Redd received the inbounds pass and was
immediately fouled. He made both attempts from the stripe to seal it.
“I don’t think we hit rock bottom (in game one). We were just upset that we
turned the ball over so much and gave up easy transition baskets,” said Jones.
“We felt that if we cut down our turnovers, we’d win. Now we have to come back
with the same effort we had for 46 minutes tonight. It got a little helter-
skelter at the end.”
The first quarter was tight throughout and ended with the teams tied at 25-25.
Neither club enjoyed a lead of more than four points in the opening 12
Milwaukee then opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run, highlighted by
Mason’s three-point play, to take a 32-25 advantage.
However, the Pistons countered with eight straight points to move in front
33-32 with 6:20 left in the period. Billups’ three-pointer ignited the surge.
After the clubs traded baskets, the Bucks closed the stanza with a 14-6 spurt,
keyed by six points from Kukoc, and went to the locker room with a 48-41 lead.
Mason and Smith each scored 11 points in the first half, while Billups led
Detroit in the opening 24 minutes with 12.
Milwaukee stretched the advantage to 54-43 on a short hook shot in the lane by
Brian Skinner with 10:34 left in the third quarter.
After Detroit scored the next seven points to pull within four, the Bucks
answered with a 10-0 burst, capped by consecutive baskets from Mason, to grab
a 64-50 advantage with 5:07 remaining in the period. Milwaukee eventually held
a 70-60 lead after 36 minutes.