Tonight the Pistons (35-41) travel to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks (39-36). The game is an 8:00 EST tip-off.
Detroit: Smith, Caldwell-Pope, Morris, Leuer, Drummond
Milwaukee: Brogdon, Middleton, Antetokompo, Snell, Maker
For Detroit, every game is a playoff game right now. The Pistons basically have to win every game left on their schedule and even then there’s no guarantee it will be enough to squeak into the post-season. Even so, the team took a small step in the right direction last night after snapping a five-game losing streak at home vs the Nets. While that’s good it also sets the team up for an uphill battle tonight. Detroit has struggled both on the road and on the second night of a back to back this year. Tonight they will have to overcome both of those obstacles to keep their season alive.
Winning in Milwaukee will be no easy task. The Bucks are coming off a nice win in Boston on Wednesday and are currently tied for the 5th seed in the east. Of course, they are led by Giannis Antetokompo, also known as the “Greek Freak”. The 22-year-old is one of the game’s top scorers at 23.1 points per game. He also averages 5.3 assists and 8.6 rebounds. It’s safe to say that Detroit will have their hands full trying to contain the freak.
The Pistons will also have to deal with a couple of familiar faces. Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe are two former Pistons who could really make their presence felt tonight. Middleton missed most of the year due to injury, but has returned and made some noise in the last few weeks. He is averaging 15.0 points per game so far this year and he’s shooting 43% from three. Monroe has found a nice role coming off the bench for Milwaukee and is doing well as their sixth man. He’s averaging 12.0 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game this year. He’s also the kind of skilled scorer who has been known to give current Pistons center, Andre Drummond, trouble in the past. Look for these two to give Detroit lots of problems tonight.
My key match-up tonight will be Marcus Morris vs Giannis Antetokompo. We all know that the Greek Freak is a star in the league, but Morris could act as a thorn in his side tonight. Morris had an outstanding game last night, both offensively and defensively. If Morris can carry some of that lay into tonight’s game then the Pistons might just have a chance to win and keep their season alive.
If I had to guess, I’d say this game will be the final nail in the Pistons coffin. They’re on the road, on the second night of a back to back and they’re playing a better team in the Bucks. Everything is going against Detroit tonight in a must win game. If this group had the “Detroit vs everybody” mentality, I might believe they rise to the occasion in this game. However, at this point in the year, I have little faith in this team’s heart. I hope I’m wrong and we finally see the Pistons team we’ve been expecting all year, but I’m expecting a Bucks blowout in this one as they surge towards the playoffs.
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