Pistons 85, Bucks 71

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons keep changing coaches.

Their focus remains the same.

Michael Curry is in charge now, and he's made it clear Detroit will continue to rely on its defense to win games.

"That's our foundation," he said after an 85-71 preseason win over Milwaukee on Wednesday night. "As long as we have that, we're going to be OK."

Of course, it isn't surprising that Curry would be a defense-first coach. It was Curry's able defense that propelled an 11-year NBA playing career despite little scoring presence.

Curry has inherited a similar player in second-year guard Arron Afflalo. As a rookie, Afflalo became known as a tough defender, but averaged less than four points a game as a member of Detroit's regular rotation.

This year, though, Afflalo wants to show more of the scoring touch he displayed at UCLA.

"I'm going to go out there and defend, but I've got to be able to hit open shots," Afflalo said. "I'm going to find ways to take advantage of what I can do offensively."

He did just that Wednesday, leading the Pistons with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor and connected on all three of his 3-point attempts.

"I thought Arron played very well tonight," Curry said. "He's struggled with his shot during camp, but I've told him that his defense is going to keep him on the floor -- he just needs to let the offense come to him."

Nine of Afflalo's points came in the second quarter as the Pistons rallied from a terrible start. They trailed 25-12 after one quarter, but outscored Milwaukee 73-46 in the final three periods.

"We got off to a sluggish start, but I expected that, because we had them in the gym for four-and-a-half hours yesterday," Curry said. "After that, we got after it, especially on defense. That's what I want to see."

The Bucks were missing several key players, including first-round pick Joe Alexander (abdominal strain), Richard Jefferson (quad), Luke Ridnour (knee) and Charlie Bell (Achilles tendinitis). Andrew Bogut played after missing Milwaukee's first preseason game because of a migraine, but finished with just seven points.

"We've got a lot of guys hurt at the moment, so our lineup is always changing," Bogut said. "It takes time to bond with your teammates -- look at the Pistons, they've been together for 10 years. Chauncey Billups drives the lane and throws a pass, and doesn't have to look to see if someone is there. He knows they will be. We have to get to that point."

Charlie Villanueva had 20 points for Milwaukee and Malik Allen added 18.

The Pistons were within 42-37 by halftime, and took command with a dominant third period.

Detroit outscored the Bucks 27-16 in the third, giving them a 52-33 advantage between the second and third periods. Billups had all 12 of his points in the third and added three assists, while Richard Hamilton had five points and two assists.

"We had a really good second quarter, and we wanted to jump on them at the start of the second half," Billups said. "We wanted to turn the game back in our favor, so I was looking to be aggressive."

The Pistons continued to pull away in the fourth, as both coaches -- Detroit's Michael Curry and Milwaukee's Scott Skiles -- emptied their benches.

"We showed some glimpses tonight, but it is a matter of consistency," Skiles said. "Instead of doing it on five-of-ten possessions, we need to be there on eight or nine. We played hard, and we tried to do the right things, but they pounced on us and we had trouble regaining the momentum."

Former No. 1 pick Kwame Brown had five points and five fouls in 13 minutes for Detroit.