Bucks try to avoid elimination
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - The Detroit Pistons attempt to eliminate the Milwaukee Bucks from the playoffs tonight, as the Central Division rivals meet at The Palace of Auburn Hills for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal set.
After the teams split the first two games of the series at The Palace, the Pistons were able to steal Games 3 and 4 at the Bradley Center to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
With the Pistons leading the series 2-1, Richard Hamilton scored a game-high 27 points and Rasheed Wallace added 20, leading Detroit to a 109-92 win over Milwaukee on Monday in Game 4 at the Bradley Center.
Chauncey Billups had 19 points and nine assists, while Tayshaun Prince posted 17 points in the win for the Pistons.
Damon Jones and Joe Smith both had 17 points in Game 4 for the Bucks. Jones also had a game-high 10 assists and Toni Kukoc chipped in 15 points in the loss off the bench, as Milwaukee shot just 45 percent for the game.
The Bucks have lost four straight Game 5s in the postseason. Milwaukee has won three of its last five contests in the playoffs when facing elimination.
The Pistons have never lost a best-of-seven series when leading 3-1, while the Bucks have never won a series after falling behind 3-1.
Detroit is 3-2 in its last five Game 5s in the postseason. The Pistons have won three of their last five playoff games when they have a chance to knock their opponent out of the postseason.
The Pistons are 9-2 all-time versus the Bucks in the postseason, including 4-1 as the host. This is the third time the teams have met in the postseason, as the Pistons won each series. Detroit won the final two games of a best-of- three first-round series in 1976 and swept a best-of-seven conference semifinal in 1989.
If the Pistons are victorious tonight, they would meet the Atlantic Division champion New Jersey Nets in the semifinals.
The Bucks were eliminated in six games by the New Jersey Nets in the first round of last year's playoffs, while Detroit has not been dismissed in the opening round since 2000 when it was swept by the Miami Heat, 3-0.
If Milwaukee wins tonight, Game 6 would be played on Saturday at the Bradley Center.DET MIL