Tonight the struggling Detroit Pistons (28-32) take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (33-27) at 7pm EST / 4pm PST at Little Caesars Arena.
The Pistons have lost three out of their last four games and Coach Stan Van Gundy has highlighted the teams biggest downfalls:
“Two main things that have been pretty common over the last few games on the defensive end that we’ve talked about is we are not doing a good job getting back and getting matched up,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Twenty-five fast-break points (Monday) and a lot of those threes came in transition where we weren’t matched up. We are just not doing a good job of closing out to people at all. We are closing short or we are flying in the air, so we’re not getting to people.”
Against the Bucks the Pistons will have to limit transition buckets and do a better job of defending the three-point line. Luckily for the Pistons, the Bucks play at one of the slowest paces in the NBA (24th of 30) and they struggle shooting three-pointers (35.1%, 26th of 30). However, they are top 10 in fast break points with 13.3 per game. Therefore, it will be crucial for the Pistons to matchup quickly after a turnover or missed bucket.
The Bucks are 3-1 against the Pistons this year and standing at the van guard of SVG’s game-plan is slowing down Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last game, Giannis had 25 points, 4 assists, and 11 rebounds in a 104-100 victory over the Pistons. Obviously, this is easier said than done but hopefully, Blake Griffin will be able to help out.
In his first 11 games with the Pistons, Griffin is averaging 19.3 points while shooting 40.1 percent from the field. Over the last few games however, Griffin has often disappeared in the offense and has taken more three-pointers than free throw attempts. This is extremely troubling since Blake is only shooting 27.4% from deep. Griffin will need to work more downhill against the Bucks so he can get to the line and slow up the game.