Bucks pump Pistons

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MILWAUKEE – Michael Redd and Bobby Simmons each scored 19 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat Detroit 113-93 as the Pistons rested two of their top three scorers.

The victory temporarily vaults the Bucks into the No. 6 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, and gives them a shot at the fifth seed in their regular-season finale at Washington on Tuesday night.

The Pistons deactivated Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton, giving them a chance to rest in preparation for the playoffs. The Pistons couldn’t make up for their absence.

Redd, Simmons and T.J. Ford combined to shoot 5-for-8 from 3-point range in the third quarter, allowing Milwaukee to open up an 87-58 lead heading into the final period.

The victory gives the Bucks momentum after a head-scratching home loss to Atlanta on Friday night – and the tiebreaker over Indiana.

Milwaukee entered Monday’s game with an identical record to Indiana and Chicago. Both of the Bucks’ rivals won Monday night, but the Bucks hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over each of them.

Milwaukee and Indiana have identical records against each other this season, and identical records in the Central Division. The third playoff seeding tiebreaker is conference record, where Milwaukee has an edge over Indiana.

Chicago beat Orlando in overtime Monday night, but the Bucks have a better Central Division record than the Bulls.

Washington was idle Monday night, but has games left against against Milwaukee and at Detroit.

The loss didn’t mean much for the Pistons, who have clinched home court advantage throughout the playoffs. That security allowed Pistons coach Flip Saunders to rest Wallace, Hamilton and Lindsey Hunter.

Carlos Delfino and Amir Johnson had 18 points each to lead Detroit.

The Bucks opened the decisive third quarter on a 14-7 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Redd and Ford. Milwaukee outscored Detroit 33-19 in the third quarter.

Milwaukee ran off to a 17-2 first-quarter lead as the Pistons began the game shooting 1-for-11 from the floor.

Notes: With Wallace and Hamilton inactive for Detroit, Maurice Evans made his first start of the season and Dale Davis made his second start of the season. … Saunders was called for a technical foul in the second quarter. … It was the Bucks’ first victory in four games against Detroit this year. … Monday’s attendance was 18,475.

AP-ES-04-17-06 2231EDT

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