AUBURN HILLS, MI - The Detroit Pistons haven't totally clicked yet after an offseason makeover, yet their new-look roster has shown a lot more potential than Milwaukee's.
Brandon Jennings made four consecutive 3-pointers in the first quarter against his former team, and the Pistons overwhelmed the struggling Bucks with a dazzling first half in a 113-94 victory Monday night.
Jennings was traded from Milwaukee to Detroit last offseason after four seasons with the Bucks.
"At this point in my career, every game gets me geeked up," Jennings said. "I've got a lot of chip on my shoulder right now, so I'm just trying to prove that I can come over here and lead this team to the playoffs."
Jennings hadn't been shooting well for the Pistons, but that changed right away Monday, when he led Detroit on a 21-0 run toward the end of the first quarter. The Pistons led 38-18 after one and by as many as 34 in the third.
Jennings finished with 15 points and 13 assists. Brandon Knight, who went from Detroit to Milwaukee in the trade, scored eight points. The Bucks have lost nine straight.
"Right now we are a team that is searching -- searching for an identity," Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said. "I expressed my disappointment in how we played, but the last thing I want us to do as a team is to feel sorry for ourselves."
Khris Middleton, also sent from the Pistons to the Bucks in that deal, had 14 points. John Henson led Milwaukee (2-11) with 15.
The Pistons have won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Their offseason shakeup, which included the trade for Jennings and the acquisition of free agent Josh Smith, hasn't paid dividends yet, but this game was a blowout almost from the start. Detroit (6-8) could gain ground quickly in an Eastern Conference that is full of struggling teams.
"We have a lot of talent. We've just got to put the chemistry together," Jennings said. "The East is real shaky. We've got a chance to really put some wins in now that we're at home."
This win was the start of a four-game homestand for Detroit.
"We needed it," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We don't want to keep winning one game and losing two games, one game. We never can get any rhythm like that."
Drew called a timeout 84 seconds into the game, with his team down 8-2. Detroit led 17-14 before its decisive run, which included three 3-pointers by Jennings in a span of 1:19.
Detroit's Charlie Villanueva, who had scored only 10 points all season, matched that total in the second quarter. He made a couple of 3-pointers and had a breakaway dunk after one of Milwaukee's 15 first-half turnovers.
It was 65-34 at halftime.
Villanueva finished with 12 points, one of seven Pistons in double figures. Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 17 points.
Knight turned the ball over six times.
"It wasn't a good experience just because my team struggled," Knight said. "I want my team to do well, so I'm just trying to focus on that and getting to playing the way I need to play."
One of the Pistons' strengths has been the offensive rebounding of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but they didn't need much of that Monday because they weren't missing many shots to begin with.
The third quarter began with a free throw -- Milwaukee's O.J. Mayo had been whistled for a technical foul as the teams left the court at halftime -- and the game quickly became tedious after that. The Pistons and Bucks combined to shoot 26 free throws in the third, but Milwaukee never cut into the lead in any meaningful way.
The Bucks' losing streak equals their longest since they dropped 15 in a row in 1996, according to STATS. The last time Milwaukee lost nine straight was in 2008 -- and that skid spanned the end of one season and the beginning of another.
MERRILL - A Northwoods school pulled off a big surprise on Friday to honor a few veterans. After months of planning, students and staff at Kate Goodrich Elementary got to see the payoff of all their hard work.
"It was like kind of overwhelming," said Wolfgang Lenk.
Lenk, Todd Annis, and Randy Perry had no idea they would be the guests of honor.
"To see all these kids and knowing how hard they worked selling all this, and now your name comes up that you're one of the three recipients, it was awesome," said Annis.
RHINELANDER - A scoop of frozen custard goes down pretty well on a humid day like the Northwoods saw Friday. Rhinelander's Associated Bank made grabbing a scoop an easy way to help others.
Culver's set up a mobile custard stand outside the new bank building on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fifty cents from every $2.50 cup sold went to Associated Bank's Children's Miracle Network fund.
The bank is hoping to raise $500 through its fundraisers for CMN this month.
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