Game Preview: Pistons host “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks
On Wednesday night, the Detroit Pistons (15-18) face the rim-crashing Milwaukee Bucks (14-15) at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Game tips off at 7:30pm eastern.
Detroit snapped their 5-game losing streak on Monday night defeating the exhausted Cleveland Cavilers 106-90. Off the bench, Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 21 points, while Kentavious Pope-Caldwell scored 18. Jon Leuer earned his first victory as a Pistons starter, scoring 13 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. Leuer also had the best +/- of the game with +21.
The two biggest takeaways from this game are 1) so far, Stan Van Gundy’s switch of Leuer/Harris looks great. The Pistons look more engaged on both sides of the ball and their ball movement has vastly improved; and 2) it appears Reggie Jackson has shed most of his rust. Over his last three games, Jackson has averaged 16 points and 6.3 assists, which isn’t too far from his numbers last year (18.8p, 6.2a).
In October, Detroit destroyed Milwaukee 98-83 and Andre Drummond could not be contained. Dre posted a monster double-double with 20 points and 23 rebounds. Last year, the Pistons took 3 of 4 meetings against Milwaukee.
On Monday night, the Bucks lost to the Washington Wizards 107-102. Defensively, Milwaukee could not stop John Wall as he exploded for 18 points and a season-high 16 assists. The Bucks also struggled from behind the arc, shooting only 28% (6-21).
During the month of December, the Bucks are 6-7 despite the best efforts of their upcoming All-Star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is popularly known as “the Greek Freak” due to his combination of size (6’11”) speed, strength, and skill. Not to mention, he excels at nearly every facet of the game: dribbling, passing, shooting, posting up, blocking, etc. Early this week, his skills were on full display as he scored a career-high 39 points against the Wizards.
Over the last 13 games, the 21-year-old from Athens, Greece is averaging 24.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. On Wednesday, the Pistons must limit his penetration and his ability to get to the rim. In doing that, Detroit will also pacify the Greek Freak’s best teammate, Jabari Parker.
Over his last 13 games, Parker, the former Duke-standout, has averaged 21.6 points and 5.3 rebounds. Parker is the fourth-leading scorer from less than five feet from the rim and as a team, the Bucks currently lead the NBA in field goal makes from five feet from the basket. If Detroit can limit these two young stars from crashing the rim, the Pistons should emerge victorious.