For all the talk surrounding star-studded teams in glitzier locations like Miami, New York, Chicago and Brooklyn, the Milwaukee Bucks are poised to climb toward the top of the tight Eastern Conference.
Winners of seven of their last 10 and threatening in the Central Division, the Bucks look to take that next step when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis scored 20 points apiece in Milwaukee's 109-102 win over Golden State on Saturday.
The Pistons have also been playing some better ball of late, winning 10 of their last 16, and have taken the first two meetings with Milwaukee this season, including a 16-point victory at the Bradley Center earlier this month. Brandon Knight had 20 points in that win for Detroit and netted a career-high 31 in Sunday's 104-102 victory at Orlando. That game salvaged the finale of a tough three-game road trip for Detroit, which lost in Chicago and Miami to begin the excursion.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Detroit
ABOUT THE BUCKS (23-19):
Jennings did well to sum up his performance against the Warriors when he said, "Once I get it going, I get it going." That is exactly what he did after a scoreless first half, scoring 18 points -- 15 on five 3-pointers -- in a third-quarter outburst that helped turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 12-point lead entering the fourth. Jennings' five 3-pointers came in a 4:30 span midway through the third. Ersan Ilyasova had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Larry Sanders chipped in 16 points and 11 boards in the Bucks' fourth win in five games.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (17-27):
Knight was a remarkable 12-for-16 from the floor against the Magic, burying five 3-pointers. He actually finished without an assist for just the fourth time in his career, but credited his teammates for doing a lot of work while he stayed hot. "The ball bounces funny sometimes," he said. "But still, you've got to be there and get some of those bounces and make some of the effort plays ... I gotta commend my teammates on making some of those effort plays toward the end of the game."
The Bucks have scored at least 100 points in seven of 10 games under new head coach Jim Boylan. They are 6-1 in those games.
Milwaukee made 13 3-pointers against Golden State, one shy of matching its season high, which was established the night before in Cleveland.
While Knight had a career high in scoring vs. Orlando, backcourt mate Will Bynum recorded a season-high 12 assists.