Game Preview: Pistons Travel to Milwaukee to Face MVP Candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks
On Wednesday night the Detroit Pistons (13-8) will battle one of the best teams in eastern conference, the Milwaukee Bucks (15-7) at 8pm EST at the Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks are coming off an overtime loss against the New York Knicks 136-134. Bucks’ superstar and MVP candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo, obliterated the Knicks with 33 points, nineteen rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. However, the Bucks could not stop the Knicks from long distance. The Knicks hit 20 of 34 three-pointers to steal the game in overtime.
Thanks to Antetokounmpo the Bucks have one of the best offensives in the NBA as they are ranked first in offensive rating at 115.5 while being ranked 6th in defensive rating at 106.0. Former Piston Khris Middleton is averaging 18.5 points while Eric Bledsoe is averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game. However, if the Buck are vulnerable it is on the defensive side of the ball, specifically defending the three-point line.
“I think we would just like to reduce the volume in general,” Coach Budenholzer said. “I think we need to be better guarding the ball, I think we need to be better at the point of screens. … I think it’s fair to say that’s something that’s easier said than done, but we’ll see if we can get that done.”
As for the Pistons, they are coming off a terrible performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder where the 110-83 final quickly got out of the hand in the third quarter.
”We didn’t come out with any urgency, and that’s entirely on us,” Griffin said. ”No coach can go out there and make us play hard. We need to take a hard look at this game and learn from what we did out there.”
Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 20 points while Jon Leuer had one of his best games of the season with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Unfortunately for Detroit, Reggie Bullock will not be available against the Thunder after rolling his left ankle early in the loss on Monday.
Expect Luke Kennard to take most of Bullock’s minutes as he just returned from his shoulder sprain injury. Kennard struggled in his first game back as he went 0-for-5 from the floor but that is to be expected after a long absence.
“He was real rusty,” Casey said Tuesday. “Had it in second gear. I thought he avoided some situations, whether it was screens or cracking people, whatever it was, not wanting to hit his shoulder. He needs a little more time.”
Langston Galloway and Bruce Brown should also see an increase in minutes and one of them may even become a starter. Coach Casey has not made his decision yet on who will replace Bullock in the starting lineup.
The Pistons will need to be on the top of their game Wednesday night and they will need to shoot drastically better than their 29th ranked season average of 43.4% from the floor. Hopefully the sting of Monday’s game adds extra motivation to this Pistons teams.
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Langston Galloway or Bruce Brown*
SF: Glenn Robinson III
PF: Blake Griffin
C: Andre Drummond
PG: Malcom Brogdon
SG: Eric Bledsoe
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez
For the Bucks, Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) is doubtful to play and the Pistons are without Reggie Bullock.
Featured Image: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports