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Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond had a stellar game scoring 27 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in a losing effort against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 6, 2017.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

MILWAUKEE — Stan Van Gundy tried to help his bench Wednesday night.

When the Pistons entered Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks tied at 76 entering the fourth quarter, he left starter Tobias Harris on the floor with four other reserves.

It was a continuation from the first half when the Pistons coach cut combo guard Langston Galloway from the playing rotation.

It didn’t help the Pistons’ slumping bench unit.

The Pistons only managed one Luke Kennard free throw over the next six possessions before Van Gundy relented and swapped Andre Drummond for Eric Moreland.

The Bucks’ lead then was eight points and would eventually grow to 13 as their 14-1 run to start the fourth was the fateful sequence in the Pistons’ 104-100  loss.

The Pistons were 0-for-9 from the field and committed three turnovers in the nearly seven-minute stretch.

The loss completed a four-game winless trip for the Pistons (14-10), and the bench woes were a major culprit.

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The struggles have Van Gundy openly wondering about rotation changes — which likely means leaving at least two starters on the floor at all times.

Pistons center Andre Drummond said he’s ready to shoulder a larger workload.

He said he routinely asks Van Gundy to remain in the game when he plays the entire third quarter.

Van Gundy listened back in October when the Pistons scored a comeback victory on the road over the Golden State Warriors, Friday night’s opponent at Little Caesars Arena.

“I’m already in my second wind, so I’m not trying to come out,” Drummond said. “Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn’t.”

Drummond is averaging 33.5 minutes per game, which would be a career high.

 

Drummond has solved the major issue preventing him from playing more with his improved free-throw shooting, so Van Gundy doesn’t have to remove him when teams use the tactic of intentionally fouling poor foul shooters.

That would mean less time for Moreland, who is a solid defender and rebounder — but he rarely factors in on the offensive side.

During the 14-1 run, Moreland grabbed an offensive rebound near the basket, but didn’t look to score. He passed to a teammate.

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Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy discusses his team’s loss vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 6, 2017.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

More Drummond could mean more success for the Pistons. The six-year veteran is having his best season and is coming off a 27-point, 20-rebound, six-assist night against the Bucks.

Drummond said he feels great physically.

“Ask me that in a month,” he said. “It’s still early. I feel fresh.”

Another option could be to turn to center Boban Marjanovic.

He’s a skilled offensive player, but is a defensive liability.

Van Gundy is still seeking answers.

“Maybe we have to change up our rotations,” Van Gundy said. “Our bench had been really good for us, but now has not been.”

Notes

Thursday night’s game was the Pistons’ final one at the Bradley Center; the Bucks move into a new arena next season. … Drummond and Harris were 20-for-30 against the Bucks; the rest of the team was 16-for-57.

Follow Vince Ellis on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.