STAMINA & STRENGTH: Backup guards lead Pistons into matchup with Bucks

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Backup guards lead Pistons into matchup with Bucks

Backup guards lead Pistons into matchup with Bucks

The Associated Press
The Detroit Pistons must rely on two journeyman point guards during the first month of the season. The early returns on Ish Smith and Beno Udrih have been promising.
That duo has combined for just two turnovers in the team's first two games. They contributed 29 points and 13 assists in the Pistons' home opener on Friday, a 108-82 thumping of the Orlando Magic.
Detroit (1-1) will try to keep the good vibes going on Sunday when it faces the Milwaukee Bucks (1-1) at The Palace.
Smith was thrust into the starting lineup when Reggie Jackson was diagnosed with knee tendinitis during training camp. Jackson is expected to miss approximately 20 games.
Smith is playing for his 10th organization, while Udrih is wearing his eighth different uniform.
"He's been able to get a lot of good looks and as a team, we've been able to really jell together and build our chemistry," forwad Tobias Harris said of Smith, who was signed as a free agent in July.
"We talk to him a lot, especially the guys in the starting five, about where we like the ball and where we are, just adapting to his game, his pace. That's been going a long way for us and it showed (Friday). He was aggressive, he was playing like himself and that's what we need from him, just that consistent effort."
The Pistons, a playoff team last season, dropped their opener in Toronto on Wednesday by 18 points. They recovered quickly in their home opener, leading by 23 points at halftime.
"We know what it takes to win," center Andre Drummond said. "We had that taste of success last year and we know how hard we need to play in order to be a great team. That wasn't the team we showed against Toronto. That was the team of previous years -- two, three years ago. We've got to come out with the same energy we had (against Orlando)."
Milwaukee has the disadvantage of playing the second part of a back-to-back set. The Bucks pulled out a 110-108 home win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
Forward John Henson's buzzer-beating tip-in was the game winner after the Bucks gave away a six-point lead in the final minute.
"We just had to fight," he said on the Fox Sports TV interview after the fact. "We made some bad plays at the end, didn't talk on defense, but we live to fight another day. We've got to get better."
Bucks coach Jason Kidd is trying to sort through his rotation. He has Miles Plumlee starting ahead of Greg Monroe at center. The training-camp trade of Michael Carter-Williams has moved Matthew Delladova, signed as a free agent, into the starting backcourt.
Swingman Tony Snell, who was acquired from Chicago for Carter-Williams, scored six points in 21 minutes in his Milwaukee debut Saturday. He missed Milwaukee's opening-night loss to Charlotte with a sprained left ankle.
The Bucks' defense needs to tighten up. They allowed 44.8 percent shooting to the Hornets and 44 percent to the Nets.
"When you look back two years ago, no matter what defensive scheme we were in, we played hard," Kidd said.
The Pistons took three out of four meetings with the Bucks last season.

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