After two impressive wins over the the Los Angeles Clippers and defending-champion Golden State Warriors, the Detroit Pistons looked to be making a turn. They followed that up with a disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday and showed there is still some room to grow. It will not get any easier Friday night at Little Caeser’s Arena.
Detroit will look to get back on track as the Milwaukee Bucks and early MVP-candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo come to town. This game is the first of five consecutive ones that the Pistons will play at home.
In order to have any chance of winning the Pistons will have to defend Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game on this young season. His season-low 14 points against Charlotte on Wednesday resulted in a Milwaukee loss, so the Bucks are certainly heavily reliant on the 22-year old star. “We trust in what were doing and trust in Stanley (Johnson’s) ability to cover him and we’ll go from there” point guard Reggie Jackson tells Rod Beard of Detroit News.
If Detroit players defense like they did against the Lakers, however, it will be along night. The Pistons defense collapsed against the Lakers, surrendering 113 points and allowed them to shoot 49.5 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from behind the arc. Antetokounmpo may a dynamic scorer in the paint, but the rest of the Bucks can be a problem too. Wingman Khris Middleton scored a career-high 43 points against the Hornets.
On the Pistons’ front, Tobias Harris leads the balanced attack with his 20.5 points per game. Detoir plays (and looks) their best when Reggie Jackson is playing well, but there were rumors he was on the verge of being traded for Eric Bledsoe. Stan van Gundy has “squashed” those rumors according to Beard, but also says the team is always looking to upgrade when possible.
As for injuries, Milwaukee will be without center Greg Monroe as he deals with a hamstring injury. Jabari Parker is also continuing rehab on his torn ACL. The Pistons will not have Jon Leuer, who was ruled out with a sore ankle.
(Featured image by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)