The veteran forward returned home to Milwaukee — roughly 30
minutes north of his hometown of Racine, Wis. — in the hopes of
leading the Milwaukee Bucks back to respectability. But inconstant
playing time and a pile of losses had frustrated the two-time
On Wednesday, though, when the team handed out bobbleheads featuring
Butler's likeness, all was forgotten as he scored 30 points off the
bench and the Bucks snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 104-101
victory over the Detroit Pistons at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
"We need to have another bobblehead night for him," said Bucks coach
Larry Drew, whose team won for the first time in 2014. "He was
absolutely phenomenal tonight. He shot the ball extremely well and
did a lot of other things."
Butler set season highs for field goals made (12) and assists (five)
while playing 33 minutes. He made just 2-of-10 3-pointers but the
two he made could not have come at a more important moment.
Milwaukee trailed by 13 early in the second half before storming
back to within six on center Miroslav Raduljica's layup with 2:31
The Pistons failed to convert turnovers on the Bucks' next two
possessions, but after guard Rodney Stuckey sank two free throws
with 1:07 left in the third, Butler connected on a 25-footer to cut
the deficit to seven. After forward Kyle Singler missed from long
range, Butler struck again, beating the shot clock to make it 85-81
heading into the fourth.
"That was definitely a momentum-changer," Detroit coach Maurice
Cheeks said. "If we get that rebound and secure that ball, we go
into the fourth up seven or eight points. But [Butler] hit a couple
of threes, Luke Ridnour hit a couple of threes and they hit a lot of
threes in transition that allowed them to stay in striking distance,
which meant we had to make a play every time."
Milwaukee hit five of its eight 3-pointers in the quarter with two
each from Butler and forward Khris Middleton.
The bench had 31 of Milwaukee's 54 second-half points, with 14 of
them coming from Butler.
"They played unbelievable," Butler said. "I think it's just playing
so much over the last couple games. We're at the halfway point and
these guys have been playing a lot of minutes you don't usually get,
so they're learning to finish games."
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Point guard Brandon Knight scored 16 while forward Ersan
Ilyasova and center John Henson each had 12. Middleton finished
with 10 for the Bucks (8-33), who shot 55 percent from the field
and scored 12 points off nine Pistons turnovers.
Still, the Bucks could not breathe until the final buzzer.
Detroit forced three ties and took the lead three times before
Milwaukee finally went ahead for good with 4:28 to play.
Henson missed two free throws before scoring on a dunk with 2:13
left and Stuckey followed with a long jumper to make it a
102-101 game in favor of Milwaukee. Knight scored to restore the
three-point lead and Milwaukee appeared to double that when
Detroit center Andre Drummond was called for goaltending with 30
The referees, though, reversed that call, and while Raduljica
won a jump ball, the Bucks couldn't convert and Detroit got and
Pistons forward Josh Smith missed two free throws with 5.2
seconds left and after Knight lost the ball out of bounds,
Stuckey had one last shot — a 3-pointer from the corner — but
it hit the side of the backboard and the Bucks escaped.
"We really needed that win," said Butler, who added that his
bobblehead looked more like his cousin. "We were excited about
tonight, an opportunity to get a win and start something good."
Point guard Brandon Jennings led Detroit with 30 points on
11-of-23 shooting. Jennings is averaging 20.7 points and 9.3
assists in three games this season against Milwaukee, where he
spent his first four NBA seasons before being dealt for Knight
and Middleton over the summer.
"We all know teams aren't just going to lay down," Jennings
said. "It's important we keep the attitude and intensity. I
think we got a little comfortable but we can't let that happen.
No matter what their record is, that's an NBA team over there."
Stuckey scored 12 of his 23 points in the second quarter and
forward Greg Monroe finished with 18 for Detroit, which also got
11 from Drummond but lost for the third time in four games.
NOTES: Milwaukee avoided losing 10 consecutive games for the
second time this season. ... Detroit C Andre Drummond posted his
ninth double-double in the last 10 games. He has 31 on the year,
trailing only Minnesota's Kevin Love. ... F Caron Butler scored
more than 20 points off the bench for the first time since Dec.
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