The Pistons turned a blowout into a close game on Wednesday against the Bucks. Tonight they turned a close game into a blowout. The Bucks jogged through tonight's game like they were on a slick sidewalk during a February icestorm in Milwaukee. And they left their scarf and equilibrium at home as they were cold in stumbling, slipping, and falling to another loss, 127-100.
- Charlie Villanueva. VNuv played really well in the first quarter, showing off a nice mid-range game and generally conplementing Andrew Bogut well. He also wins the award for least bad differential score among starters, with a -16.
- Mo Williams. Williams dished out more than twice as many assists (5) as any other Buck, made half (2) of the team's three pointers, and didn't miss a free throw (2-2). None of that is earth-shattering stuff of course, especially since he was routinely lit up by Chauncey Billups. This is a more an exercise in showing the slim pickings tonight.
- Michael Redd. Redd was pretty quiet tonight and struggled badly from the line, but even on nights like this you can tell he's our best player, for better or worse. And many would say "worse." Still, what does that say about everyone else?
- 33 The Pistons passed their way to 33 assists, more than doubling the Bucks' 16.
- 11. The Pistons used 13-0 and 12-0 runs to take over the game in the second period. The Bucks barely scratched double digits, scoring less than a third of their first quarter output in their 11-point second quarter.
- 37.5 % You know it's not the Bucks' night when Dan Gadzuric makes a pretty typical 4-8 from the free throw line, bettering Michael Redd's 3-8 (37.5 %) performance. Redd missing some free throws wasn't the reason for the loss, nor is it any real cause for concern, but it sure shows how uncomfortable the Bucks are playing in the Palace.
- Big first quarter. The Bucks beat the Pistons on Wednesday despite little frontcourt offensive production. In their flying first quarter tonight, they made sure not to take that chance again. The Bucks went inside early and often and were rewarded with 35 (!) first quarter points. Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva led the way, combining for 17 points on 13 shots in the first twelve minutes, getting the majority of the points on close, high-percentage attempts. The big men played their size in the first quarter, propelling the Bucks to a lead after the opening period.
- Mini highlight reel. Bobby Simmons made a really sharp, one-handed bounce pass through the lane to a cutting Yi, who completed the play in fashion with a dunk.
- No more Pistons. We've seen quite enough of our neighbors to the east. The Bucks head home to take on the Nuggets tomorrow, and play 10 of their next 13 games at the Bradley Center. The competition is strong, with the Spurs, Jazz, Celtics, and Cavaliers twice coming to town in addition to the aforementioned Nuggets. It's better than playing against anyone on the road though, where the Bucks have been helpless, having won just once in the last month and a half.
- Third time is... Not charming when you are talking about losing by at least 26 points to the same team in the same season by February. Watching the Bucks play the Pistons really throws into question whether or not we should even hope the Bucks make the playoff as a seven or eight seed. At this point it doesn't appear as though we'll need to worry about that.
- No chances. Even when the Bucks were firing on all cylinders in the first quarter, they were unable to open up a significant lead because they didn’t protect the defensive glass, as the Pistons killed the Bucks in second-chance points. It got to the point where it seemed like the Bucks and Pistons had a 50-50 chance of grabbing a given rebound on the Pistons offensive side of the court. The numbers don’t quite bear that out, but the Pistons more than doubled the Bucks up on the offensive glass in the first half, 10-4. The Pistons came into the game shooting better percentages from the field (45.7 - 44.8), free throw line (75.8 - 74.5), and long range (37.3 - 34.0). What happens when you allow a better all-around shooting team more chances to shoot from the field (89-74 ), line (36-33), and long range (19-10)? 127 points happens.
- Backed up. The Bucks' starters played the entire first quarter, carrying them to an impressive 35-33 lead. But they couldn't play the whole game, and the results were disastous when they rested in the second quarter. While Amir Johnson and Aaron Afflalo worked wonders off the Pistons' bench, the Bucks' backups sputtered. Their bench totaled just three first-half points. They partially redeemed themselves in a decent fourth quarter, but by that time the game was long ago settled.