NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 19th (All times eastern)
Milwaukee Bucks (24-28) at Detroit Pistons (19-34), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Newly-acquired guard John Salmons is expected to join the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, when they close out their season series with the Central Division-rival Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Bucks added Salmons just before Thursday's trade deadline and sent forwards Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander to the Chicago Bulls, getting the former Miami-Florida hoopster and second-round picks in 2011 and 2012 in return. Salmons averaged 12.7 points in 51 games with the Bulls. Milwaukee general manager John Hammond also made a move with the Philadelphia 76ers and acquired guard Royal Ivey, center Primoz Brezec and a second-round pick in the 2010 draft for rookie guard Jodie Meeks and center Francisco Elson.
Milwaukee hopes the moves will eventually pay off as it currently sits two games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It has dropped two of its last three games and suffered a 127-99 defeat at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at the Bradley Center. The Rockets used a 43-14 third quarter to erase the Bucks, who got 18 points and eight boards from Luc Mbah a Moute. Rookie Brandon Jennings netted 13 points, while Luke Ridnour and Andrew Bogut each had 12 in defeat.
"We just didn't play well," Bogut said. "We stuck with them in every category except field goal percentage. I think we were out-rebounding them in the first half, had more blocked shots and more steals. But they shoot fifty percent in the first half and sixty percent for the game and they bombarded us with three's in the third quarter and blew the game wide open."
Bogut has blocked a shot in 17 consecutive games, the longest current blocks streak in the NBA. Milwaukee is only 8-19 as the guest this season.
Detroit will open a short homestand Friday versus the Bucks and Spurs, and owns a 13-15 record at The Palace this season. It made no moves at the trade deadline and has lost eight of the last 12 games, including Wednesday's 116-91 loss at Orlando despite a season-high 36 points from Richard Hamilton. Hamilton also registered five rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes, and is 23-23 from the free-throw line in his last four games.
"I thought we did a great job for a couple of quarters," Hamilton said. "I thought we let the refs get to us on a couple of calls in the fourth quarter."
Tayshaun Prince and Jonas Jerebko both ended with 13 points in defeat, while Prince is recording 16.3 points in his last four contests. Detroit's bench is averaging 35.9 points in the last 37 games, but had just 13 points from its reserves in the loss to the Magic.
The Pistons lead the season series with Milwaukee by a 2-1 count and have won 16 of the previous 21 matchups between the division foes. The Bucks are 2-11 in their last 13 games at The Palace.
02/19 10:32:44 ET