National Basketball Association
Detroit 105, Milwaukee 96
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, November 3, 2017
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
#11 Derrick Collins, #31 Scott Wall, #34 Kevin Cutler
DETROIT -- Fouling Andre Drummond used to be a sound defensive tactic against the Detroit Pistons. So far this season, it has been a poison pill.
Drummond has shot below 40 percent from the foul line over the last three seasons, often forcing Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to take him out during crunch time. Drummond has shown dramatic improvement in that area this season, and his foul shooting actually sealed a win on Friday.
Drummond had 24 points, including a career-high 14 free throws in 16 attempts, leading the Pistons to a 105-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Little Caesars Arena.
"Obviously their idea was, 'Well, just let him catch the ball and then we'll hammer him,'" Van Gundy said. "I don't think that strategy is going to work this year. A night like tonight, that's not a fluke. If you're a 35 percent shooter in your career and you go 8 for 16, maybe he just had a good night. But 14 for 16? You saw them. They all looked good."
Drummond also had a team-high 15 rebounds for Detroit (6-3), which has won four of its last five games. He had just six points and three rebounds before halftime after collecting a couple of early fouls. One of those fouls came on the opening tip.
"It was kind of a slow start for me," he said. "Obviously that crazy call at the beginning of the game, I've never seen that in my life before. You've got to roll with the punches. It kind of took me out of my game early but it was just a matter of being mentally strong, being a professional and coming back out and playing as hard as I can."
No one who saw Drummond clang one free throw after another in recent seasons would have dreamed he could look like Stephen Curry at the line. He has made 28 of 36 attempts this season (77.8 percent).
"It's a testament to work I've put in throughout the summer, and over the years, finding something that really works for me," he said. "Being mentally strong if I do miss a shot, to come back for next whatever (attempts) after that. It's just a mental toughness thing and being ready all the time to shoot the same shot."
Avery Bradley supplied 23 points and Tobias Harris tossed in 13 for the Pistons. Ish Smith added 10 points off the bench.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA's leading scorer, paced the Bucks (4-5) with 29 points. Malcolm Brogdon had 21 points and 10 assists, Khris Middleton contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Tony Snell chipped in 12 points for Milwaukee.
The Bucks' bench was outscored 38-14 and outrebounded 17-8.
"We've got to get better. The bench has to step up," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "Those guys sitting over there have to pitch in and try to help the starters. The starters can't play 48 minutes."
Drummond made an uncontested layup to finish off a 9-2 Pistons run at the start of the second half. That gave Detroit a 67-50 lead. The Pistons maintained a double-digit lead until Antetokounmpo's fast-break layup made it 74-66 with 3:38 left in the quarter.
Milwaukee only got as close as six the rest of the quarter, thanks to the stunning display by Drummond at the foul line. He made 10 of 12 foul shots during the quarter, allowing the Pistons to carry an 82-72 lead in the final quarter.
"He's really improved," Kidd said. "We talked about that at the beginning of the game, that he's been working on his free throws, knocking them down, and that just helps them."
Stanley Johnson's jumper completed a 9-1 Detroit spurt to open the fourth quarter, stretching the lead to 91-73. The Bucks crept back but two more Drummond free throws with 3:27 left made it 99-87. Milwaukee never seriously threatened again.
The Pistons finished the first half on a 21-8 run to gain a 59-48 halftime lead.
NOTES: Detroit PF Jon Leuer missed his first game this season with a left ankle sprain. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond has 16 career games with 10 or more offensive rebounds, the most among active players. ... Milwaukee C Greg Monroe missed his fourth straight game with a left calf strain. ... The Bucks won the last three meetings. ... Detroit C Eric Moreland, who had played 30 minutes without attempting a field goal, scored his first basket of the season in the opening quarter. He finished with six points. ... Milwaukee doesn't play again until a road game against Cleveland on Tuesday. Detroit completes a home back-to-back against Sacramento on Saturday.
Top Game Performances
Giannis Antetokounmpo 29
Andre Drummond 24
Malcolm Brogdon 10
Reggie Jackson 8
John Henson 13
Andre Drummond 14
Giannis Antetokounmpo 2
||Free Throws Made
Andre Drummond 14
Giannis Antetokounmpo 1
Avery Bradley 3
Giannis Antetokounmpo 4
Andre Drummond 2
Team Stats Summary
Detroit will play their next game at home against Sacramento. The Pistons have a W/L % of .400 after a win and 1.000 after a loss.
Milwaukee will play their next game on the road against Cleveland. The Bucks have a W/L % of .400 after a win and .500 after a loss.