The Pistons scored 37 points in the first quarter. The Bucks scored 37 points in the first half. Those two sentences accurately summed up the first half action tonight in Milwaukee and little changed after the intermission as the Bucks fell 117-88 to the Pistons on Saturday night.
After the game, Jason Kidd referred to the Bucks' "consistent" approach in their first two preseason games. Unfortunately, Kidd was referring to his team's sloppy play, turnovers, fouls, and lackluster play. After collecting 19 turnovers against the Bulls on Tuesday, the Bucks turned the ball over 22 times against the Pistons and struggled to look like a cohesive unit for more than short one minute bursts.
Greg Monroe scored 18 points (8 of 9 from FT line) to lead the way for the Bucks, adding eight rebounds and two assists against the team where he spent his first five NBA seasons. Michael Carter-Williams was the only other starter to get into double figures with 14 points, including a tidy 5/6 inside the arc and 1/3 from deep to go with four rebounds and two assists.
On the other side, the Pistons had seven players reach double digits. Marcus Morris shot over 75 percent on the night on his way to 21 points and five rebounds. Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson also put up 17 points a piece. Former Buck Ersan Ilyasova was seemingly the only Piston who didn't have it going tonight, marking his return to Milwaukee with just 2/7 shooting for five points in 28 minutes.
The Bucks bench mob was once again led by Damien Inglis (10 points) and Rashad Vaughn (11 points) with 13 of their 21 points coming in a four and a half minute span in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks really struggled to enter the ball into Greg Monroe in the post in the first quarter with Andre Drummond covering Monroe one-on-one. For a second straight game, the Bucks' creativity in creating deep post touches for Monroe was underwhelming.
When they did get Monroe the ball, the rest of the Bucks did a nice job remaining active around him off the ball. Carter-Williams was able to get a good look on a nice off-ball cut and went to the line in the first quarter after receiving a nice pass from Monroe.
The Bucks' offense has looked bad many times in the last few years. The first quarter is the most recent example of one of those times.
The Carter-Williams and Vasquez pairing is going to kickstart the Bucks offense at times this season. They are going to be obnoxious for opposing point guards with 90 foot pressure and play pretty well off each other on switches. Vasquez bringing it up and MCW trailing slightly with a full head of steam on a retreating defender is tough to cover. Same goes for MCW pushing and Vasquez trailing for a PU3IT.
Antetokounmpo did not look comfortable shooting Saturday night. His misses from further than 16 feet missed badly, including an airball in the second quarter. His release looked a little bit more like the slower and lower shot he used last season, not like the faster, higher, and confident release he talked about on Media Day and showcased throughout his run with the Greek National Team.
Rashad Vaughn continues to struggle with playmaking at the NBA level. He's fine when attempting to score, but when he's trying to make plays for his teammates, he just hasn't figured out the speed with which NBA defenders recover.
No Jabari Parker tonight.
For the second straight game, the Bucks entered the ball to Giannis Antetokounmpo on the elbow to start their first possession. Jason Kidd talked about Antetokounmpo on the elbow after the game, saying, "He's a playmaker. He has to be able to read the defense and see what is available. For him to catch the ball on the elbow, it's something that we can play through at any point throughout the season."
O.J. Mayo was given a technical foul at the end of the first quarter for something that he said to an official.
After starting the first game, Rashad Vaughn did not play in the first quarter. He was one of the 2nd Quarter starters though, along with Bayless, Inglis, Henson, and O'Bryant.
The Bucks ran a pick and roll with Carter-Williams and Monroe at the top of the key, but Antetokounmpo was the one that came open on a backdoor baseline cut. After receiving the ball from Carter-Williams, he went up for a two-handed dunk and was rejected by Ilyasova. Maybe it's good there is no video evidence of this game...
The Bucks ran an interesting play twice in the final two minutes of the first half. Synopsis: The Bucks run their normal elbow series (at 1:25 in video below) with MCW entering to Monroe at the elbow, but instead of MCW screening for MIddleton in the corner, Middleton comes up the floor and sets a back screen for MCW.
The first time they ran it, they scored (as seen above at 1:33 mark of video). The second time they ran it, it resulted in a turnover that set up Marcus Morris' deep three (clip shows turnover) that beat the second quarter buzzer.
Khris Middleton picked up his fifth foul with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter and fouled out with 5:51 left in the third quarter. The Bucks were exasperated with officiating the entire night.
MIles Plumlee took a hard fall to the floor at the start of the fourth quarter. He got up on his own and proceeded to walk off the floor with his arms around two players. He went straight to the locker room.
Damien Inglis hit a catch and shoot three in transition from Vaughn in the fourth quarter and followed it with a smooth spin move take in transition on the next possession.
Greivis Vasquez enjoys talking to officials.