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Bucks 98, Pistons 86: Short-handed Milwaukee controls glass in win over Detroit

Just like we all predicted, right?

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After two difficult losses brought the Bucks back down to .500, they were in need of a bounce-back game. Enter the Detroit Pistons, who came into tonight on a four game losing streak.

That streak is now at five as the Bucks were in control for much of the second half and put the game out of reach with a 15-3 run to end the third quarter. O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight combined for 37 points on 55 percent shooting, and several other players filled in nicely with complementary performances. Larry Sanders had 12p/9r (along with active defense again), Jabari Parker had 14p/9r, and Ersan Ilyasova added 13p/9r off the bench.

Though Andre Drummond was his usual beasty self (23p/10r/1000 dunks), no other player on the Pistons had much of an impact. Josh Smith finished with 11p/10r/8a and Greg Monroe chipped in with 15p/8r, but neither was necessarily causing problems for the Bucks.

Where Detroit figured to have an advantage tonight was on the glass, but Milwaukee made a concerted effort to collectively rebound and remain active, and it worked out, surprisingly. The Bucks collected 19 (!) offensive rebounds--several later in the game--and overall controlled the boards 50-36.

Other than rebounding, Milwaukee also held advantages in made threes (10-7), free throw percentage (77%-41%...oof), and turnovers (16-19). For a team that struggles to control the ''four factors'' of the game, tonight was a refreshing and dominating sweep.


-- Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled from the field tonight, shooting 1-13, but was effective in the other areas of his game. Giannis continues to hesitate on pulling the trigger from the perimeter, and his drives tonight were either simply rolling out or made pretty difficult by a cleverly sagging Detroit defense.

It was encouraging to see a bad offensive night not affect the rest of Giannis' game, highlighted by this pretty assist on a fastbreak that led to a Jabari Parker dunk. There will be some nights where Giannis doesn't make flashy plays or score all that much, but his impact on the floor is much more widespread than just his surprising offense. Tonight was one of those games.

-- Like I said earlier, rebounding was a huge focus for the team tonight going up against a great rebounding team in Detroit. Jason Kidd was impressed with the way his team battled tonight. "Our objective tonight was team rebounding with everybody pitching in and everybody helping out. Bigs helping the little guards, littles helping the bigs - everybody was involved, and this the way we have to rebound if we want a chance to win against a team like this."

Tonight's performance on the glass was especially impressive, given that John Henson left in the second quarter with a left foot sprain. Jason Kidd said after the game that they were hoping to get big minutes from Henson tonight, so it was the "next Buck up," and guys like Sanders and Zaza Pachulia stepped up big time.

-- O.J. Mayo got his first start since December of 2013, and he responded well with 17 points in 28 minutes. The starting lineup seemed to fare much better with the addition of Mayo, scoring 65 of the team's 98 points.

-- Larry Sanders was very energetic tonight, and it paid off early with 10 points in the first quarter. It's been a solid start to the season for Sanders, and it's encouraging to see him working so hard to get back to where he once was. "I have to find my place amongst these guys, but I really want to be successful, so whatever I can do to help them, I will," he said after the game. Let's hope he can keep this up.

Milwaukee heads to Minnapolis for a match-up with Andrew Wiggins and the Timberwolves tomorrow. Two in a row? Anyone willing to call it?