DETROIT (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 34 points against the team that drafted him and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 126-117 without Giannis Antetokounmpo on Monday night.
Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 54-21 despite the absences of Antetokounmpo (knee) and Jae Crowder (calf). Goran Dragic made his Bucks debut after signing with the team on March 4, but didn’t score in nine minutes.
Brook Lopez had 24 points and 14 rebounds, Bobby Portis added 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Jevon Carter scored 22.
The Pistons got 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from Jaden Ivey, but lost their sixth straight game and 17th of 18. They are 1-13 against Central Division opponents.
Detroit continued to use a roster that would fit in the Summer League, with Bojan Bogdanovic (achilles), Cade Cunningham (leg), Hamadou Diallo (ankle), Isaiah Stewart (shoulder) and Alec Burks (foot) all sidelined.
The Pistons were within 117-110 when Middleton missed a jumper with 2:09 to play. However, Lopez tipped in the rebound, and after Ivey missed a 3-pointer, Middleton’s three-point play made it a 12-point game.
Milwaukee led 55-40 with three minutes left in the second quarter, but the Pistons narrowed the gap to 57-51 at halftime. Middleton had 17 points against his former team while Ivey scored 11 for Detroit.
The Bucks led 94-90 at the end of the third, but Joe Ingles was called for a technical foul between quarters and Cory Joseph hit the free throw to make it a three-point game.
The Bucks moved back in front 106-95, but Lopez missed the free throw on a possible three-point play with 8:43 to go. Detroit had several 3-pointers go in and out, and Carter hit a 3 to make it 111-97 with 6:48 left.
Bucks: Middleton was selected by the Pistons in the second round (No. 39 overall) of the 2012 draft and played 27 games as a rookie. After the season, he was traded to Milwaukee along with Brandon Knight and Viacheslav Kravtsov for Brandon Jennings.
Pistons: Detroit plays five of its final seven games on the road. The team’s only remaining home games are on back-to-back nights — April 4 against Miami and April 5 against Brooklyn. … The Pistons lost all four games to Milwaukee this season.
Bucks: Visit the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Pistons: Visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.