PISTONS AT BUCKS, 8:30 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Bucks center Larry Sanders will miss his second straight game with a bruised lower back after falling hard to the floor Tuesday night in Denver. Samuel Dalembert, who had a career-high 35 points in that game in Denver, will start in Sanders’ place. “It’s just day-to-day, so we’re just kind of going to have to be patient and see how he feels each day. He bruised his back pretty good, so he’s a little tender right now,” said Bucks coach Jim Boylan. The Bucks also will be without guard/forward Marquis Daniels, who will miss his second game in the last three while tending to an ill family member. Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who missed Wednesday’s game at Utah with a knee injury, will return to the starting lineup. 
  • Tonight is the first of three straight at home against opponents with lesser records (Detroit, Washington and Philadelphis) before the Bucks take off for the all-star break. Boylan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that his goal for the three games was “W, W, W.” Before tonight’s game, he re-iterated how important these three games are for his team, which sits seventh in the East. “These teams are right behind us,” Boylan said. “They’re trying to claw their way. Washington  has been playing very well since John Wall has come back.” The Bucks lost both games on a trip to Denver and Utah. “We’ve got to come back here and take care of business at home right before the break,” Boylan said.
  • The Pistons will be playing their fourth game with new acquisition Jose Calderon, and coach Lawrence Frank is optimistic about playing Calderon next to Brandon Knight, with Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum coming off the bench. “We really look at it as having a four-headed monster,” Frank said. The Pistons also are dealing with a front-court shortage now that rookie Andre Drummond is out 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his back. Drummond had a career game of 18 points and 18 rebounds the last time the Pistons and Bucks met on Jan. 29. Detroit also is playing its fifth game in seven nights. “You’re always learning about your team,” Frank said. “I thinm to me, you learn about your group in times like this — adversity, times when you’re tired. I mean, look, when you’re fresh, when you’re right, when you’re playing a spotlight team in a nice, packed house, that’s natural. During the adversity, that’s when character is always revealed in different times — when things aren’t right and you have to make them right and get past the hard.”

Rick Braun

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