Milwaukee (AP) — Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings had tried to dismiss Wednesday night's matchup against his former team as simply another game on the team's schedule.
The closer it got to tipoff against the Milwaukee Bucks, the harder that became.
"I was nervous in the beginning because I'm not used to being on the other side," Jennings said. "There were a lot of emotions going on. The whole time I felt like it was just another game. But once it got closer to game time, my nerves were just going."
Jennings struggled considerably in the first half, but finished with 17 points and 11 assists in helping the Pistons to a 105-98 win over the Bucks in his return to Milwaukee.
"Once the second half started, I settled down and just played basketball," Jennings said.
Andre Drummond had 24 points and 19 rebounds and the Pistons rode a strong second half to victory. Greg Monroe contributed 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons, who had five players score 15 or more points.
"Going into the game, we were really concerned about matchups," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "We felt they were just too big and we'd have to mix our defenses up and hopefully outrebound those guys. We just could not physically overcome that size."
Detroit hadn't had two players pull down at least 15 rebounds apiece since Feb. 10, 2005, when Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace accomplished the feat.
"We're starting to jell, starting to find ourselves and an identity," Drummond said. "The first half was tough for us. We let the fatigue get to us a little bit."
That led to a change of strategy in the second half.
"We got it down low because we knew our jump shots weren't really going to fall because our legs were tired. So we drove to the hoop and got the foul calls," Drummond said.
Detroit shot 42 foul shots and Milwaukee had 22.
Jennings spent four seasons with the Bucks after the team drafted him 10th overall in 2009 out of Oak Hill Academy. He joined the Pistons in July after a sign-and-trade deal that sent Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton to the Bucks. A restricted free-agent at the time, Jennings inked a three-year, $24 million deal with the Pistons.
The sparse crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center booed loudly when Jennings was introduced before the game and each time he touched the ball early in the contest. Jennings missed all four of his shots from the field in the first quarter but had two early assists that led to dunks.