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Brandon Jennings injury puts magical Pistons run on hold

Jennings tweets that he's out for "6/9 months"

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(AP Photo)


DETROIT – When the Pistons arrived at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Saturday night, they did so with hopes of extending an impressive hot streak and taking another step toward one of the most improbable playoff pushes in NBA history.

After starting the season 5-23, the Pistons waived Josh Smith and won 12 of their next 15 games. The streak brought Detroit out of the Eastern Conference cellar and to within one game of a postseason spot.

Then Saturday happened.

Detroit didn't just suffer a 101-86 loss in Milwaukee, they also saw their leader and starting point guard crumple to the floor with what appeared to be a serious lower leg injury.

Read: Hot-shooting Bucks beat Pistons 101-86

Brandon Jennings took over as the unquestioned leader of the Piston offense after the departure of Smith, averaging an even 20 points per game during the 12-3 streak. He shot 44 percent from the floor during the span and added 7.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

When the Pistons needed a big basket, they went to Jennings. The 25-year-old came through on a number of occasions, including a buzzer-beating layup to beat the defending NBA champion Spurs in San Antonio.

His injury came in late in the 3rd quarter with the Pistons down 26 points. Jennings was trying to guard Bucks guard Brandon Knight, who he was traded for in 2013, when he fell to the floor holding his leg. After the game, coach Stan Van Gundy couldn't hide his concern, telling reporters that the injury looked bad.

On Sunday, Jennings confirmed the severity, tweeting "6/9 months."

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Now the Pistons, who became one of the best stories in the NBA over the last month, will be harshly tested once again without their leading scorer.

Jennings is signed through next season in Detroit, when he's scheduled to make over $8.3 million.

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D.J. Augustin, Jennings' backup at point guard, will be asked to fill the gap in Detroit's offense for the immediate future. Augustin was enjoying a solid season off the bench for Stan Van Gundy, averaging 8.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.

The Pistons have taken some huge punches this season and continued to battle under Van Gundy. Jennings' injury might be the toughest hurdle to overcome as Detroit tries to dig out of the 5-23 hole it dug early in the year.

Detroit's next game comes against the Raptors in Toronto Sunday night.

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