Jaden Ivey's career-high 32 points not enough in Pistons' 126-117 loss to Bucks

Mike Curtis, The Detroit News on

Published in Basketball

DETROIT — The Pistons hosted a Milwaukee Bucks team without two of their best players on Monday night, which would typically mean a greater chance to escape with a victory.

However, that wasn't the case because Milwaukee still had an All-Star caliber player in their starting lineup by the name of Khris Middleton, who was drafted by the Pistons in 2012.

Bucks starters Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were ruled out shortly before tipoff, but it was Middleton, who scored 34 points to lead the Bucks to a 126-117 victory at Little Caesars Arena.

The Pistons (16-59) trailed by two points early in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks went on a fierce 14-2 run to create the separation needed to finish the game. Bucks guard Jevon Carter, who totaled 22 points, knocked down three of his six 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep Detroit at bay.

The loss marks six consecutive defeats for Detroit, while the first-place Bucks (54-21) rebounded from their loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

Jaden Ivey put together his best offensive game of the season, compiling a career-high 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He was 9-of-19 from the field and made his mark by getting to the free throw line, finishing 11-of-12 from the stripe.

His rookie teammate, Jalen Duren, had an impressive performance off the bench with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. He showed his ability to dominate inside with his explosive dunks, but he also displayed a willingness to get his teammates involved as he totaled three assists.

Marvin Bagley III continued his solid play with 16 points and nine rebounds. Killian Hayes and James Wiseman added 14 points each.


Bucks center Brook Lopez dominated the interior with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

The game was initially set to be televised on NBA TV, but the NBA replaced it with the Dallas-Indianapolis matchup, leaving the Pistons with just two nationally televised games this season.

Here are a few more observations from Monday's loss:

No, Giannis, no Jrue, no problem: Without Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) and Holiday (personal reasons), Middleton was very effective against the Pistons on Monday. He only made one 3-pointer, but he was a force in the midrange against Detroit's frontline. Even when Middleton attracted multiple defenders, he was able to find his teammates for easy scores. Late in the second quarter, Middleton threw a lob to Lopez for a tip-in layup. Middleton's success was a testament to how great the Bucks can be, even without two of their best players. They'll be one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference when the playoffs begin next month.

Ivey's effectiveness: Ivey has become the the Pistons' best overall player while Bojan Bogdanovic has been sidelined. He prioritizes getting his teammates involved, but also knows when to call his own number and can manufacture his own shot. On Monday, he was calculated and meticulous in taking high-percentage shots, especially in the first quarter. His first two makes were long jumpers that came as a result of him waiting for screens before getting into his shooting motion. He picked up three fouls in the first half, but returned in the second half to score 14 of his 25 points. Ivey has compiled 32 consecutive games of scoring in double figures, one shy of Dave Bing's franchise record of most games with 10 points or more by a rookie (33).

Wiseman bounces back: Wiseman, who scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter, called his own number as he waved off Killian Hayes for a one-on-one opportunity against Brook Lopez. The seven-foot center took a couple of left-to-right dribbles and finished with his non-dominant right hand for a layup. It was a sign of confidence that was much-needed for Wiseman, who struggled to score against Lopez in the first half. Wiseman was the recipient of several high passes, to which he successfully finished over Lopez and Milwaukee's smaller defenders. Wiseman has made considerable strides since joining the Pistons at the trade deadline. He's earning the opportunity to play through adversity and tough stretches during his time in Detroit. Most of the time, he's answering the call.

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