|Streaking Pistons visit Bucks|
MILWAUKEE -- After sweeping a five-game homestand to take a commanding lead in the Central Division, the resurgent Detroit Pistons take their show on the road Wednesday night when they face the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
At 10-3 on the season, Detroit is off to its best start since 2005-06, when the Pistons opened the season 11-2.
They've been dominant at home this season, winning seven of eight games at Little Caesar's Arena, but are 3-2 on the road.
"You just move on to the next chapter," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Nine of 11 on the road and the next three games are on the road against teams that you beat at home, so now they want back at you. The challenges just keep mounting, but you put wins the bank."
Detroit's surprising start has been fueled by Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris.
Harris, who spent his first 1 1/2 NBA seasons with the Bucks, earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 21.3 points and 7.7 rebounds last week and leads the Pistons this season with 20.1 points per game while ranking fourth in the league in 3-point shooting percentage at 50.6.
Drummond leads the league in rebounding this season, grabbing 15.6 per game, and has at least 12 in each of his last 13 games. His assists numbers are up as well this season as he transitions into a point-center role in the motion offense Van Gundy installed over the summer.
"I'm excited about my new role and I'm way more involved in the offense," Drummond said. "I'm able to make plays, find my teammates open, and it puts pressure on the defense.
"It gets real stagnant sometimes when you watch basketball ... one-on-one, pick and roll and big guys are standing around doing nothing. When you see constant ball movement the way we've been playing, it's fun for all of us. Everybody is getting shots."
The duo came up big in the last meeting with Milwaukee.
Drummond scored 14 of his 24 points in the third quarter and Harris knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points as the Detroit beat the Bucks 105-96 snapping a three-game losing streak to their divisional rivals.
But the Bucks are a significantly different team than they were Nov. 3. The day after that meeting, the Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe in a trade with Phoenix and have won three in a row since the veteran guard joined the team.
"I would have liked him stay in the West because he's a really good player," Van Gundy said of Bledsoe. "That's another element to (the Bucks) so I didn't like that, but I have no control over it so I don't worry about it."
Bledsoe is averaging 13 points despite shooting just 37.8 percent from the floor. Those numbers are pretty good when you consider that Bledsoe had gone two weeks without playing after having a falling out with the Suns.
A right knee contusion suffered Saturday against the Lakers made him a game-time decision for Milwaukee's game Monday night against Memphis, but Bledsoe made his third straight start and played 27 minutes, finishing with 15 points in a 110-103 victory.
"My legs feel good," Bledsoe said. "Any time you win, you don't feel anything, so I'm happy about that. We've just got to lock in when we play Wednesday at home to close another one out."
His presence has added another dimension for the Bucks, who continue to rely heavily on forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA's leading scorer with 31.3 points per game.
"He's a hell of a player," Van Gundy said. "Clearly they wanted another guy to push the ball and run pick-and-rolls, maybe take some pressure off Giannis having to handle the ball all the time."