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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 — Another night, another close loss for the Detroit Pistons (14-10).

After the Detroit Pistons’ 104-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks (13-10) on Wednesday night at the Bradley Center, they completed a winless four-game trip — with the last three losses decided in the final minute.

The skid isn’t surprising.

The Phoenix Suns are the only sub-.500 team in the current 14-game stretch (nine road games) the Pistons will face. The gauntlet began Nov. 15 at Milwaukee and concludes Tuesday when the Denver Nuggets visit Little Caesars Arena.

And with three more games remaining in the challenging part of the schedule (Golden State minus Steph Curry (ankle) visits LCA on Friday), the Pistons have navigated a 4-7 record so far.

More: Detroit Pistons extend losing streak after defeat at Milwaukee, 104-100

More: Stan Van Gundy: Detroit Pistons need to recognize threats on defense

 

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But unless the Pistons can clean up the little things that keep getting them beat, it’s not guaranteed the winning will resume when the schedule relents.

“We just need to keep our heads up,” Pistons center Andre Drummond said after 27 points, 20 rebounds and six assists.

“We can’t allow these losses to get us down. It’s a long season. We had a lot of success early in the year. This stretch is done; it happened. What we do with this rough patch is really going to show our character. We just need to continue to play hard and stay ready.”

The first loss of the trip was by 18 points after the Pistons collapsed in the second half at the Washington Wizards.

But games against the Philadelphia 76ers and the San Antonio Spurs were winnable — except the Pistons allowed 17 second-chance points and were unable to control the defensive glass.

The Pistons outrebounded the Bucks 45-41, but still allowed 13 offensive rebounds and 16 second-chance points.

And then there was the baseline inbounds play in the third quarter when there were only a few seconds left on the shot clock that turned into a John Henson dunk for the Bucks.

And the Pistons allowed several offensive rebounds off missed free throws.

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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

“We didn’t do enough of the little things,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said with an exasperated tone.

“We gave up free-throw rebounds — two of them. Screwups on out-of-bounds plays defense. Simple stuff that’s easy to do and we didn’t take care of it.”

The Pistons played from behind most of the first half, but a strong third quarter forced a 76-76 tie going into the fourth quarter.

But the Pistons bench yielded a 14-1 run to start the fourth quarter and it was an uphill climb the rest of the way.

The Pistons have fallen down the Eastern Conference standings, dropping from second to fourth.

The losing skid should cool the expectations after the 14-6 start. But it should not dampen hopes that the Pistons are good.

The Pistons have played the sixth strongest schedule, according to ESPN.com. At 14 road games, only the Orlando Magic and Warriors have played more.

The Pistons also only have one loss to a sub-.500 team — the loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Halloween night.

“It’s is a long season,” Avery Bradley said. “I feel like every team, most teams in the NBA goes through a stretch like this. You have to stay positive, focus on the next game. We have some tough teams coming at home so we can’t get down on ourselves. We have to get in the gym and prepare for the next game and go out there and get some wins.”

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Detroit Pistons guard Avery Bradley answers questions after his team’s loss on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 6, 2017.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press

Contact Vince Ellis: vellis@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

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