For the second game in a row, defending the 3-point line derailed the Milwaukee Bucks. Thursday night it put a nail in the Bucks' coffin against the Boston Celtics, and Saturday against the Detroit Pistons it was one of the reasons the Pistons walked out of the BMO Harris Bradley Center over .500.
The Pistons knocked down a total of 12 triples and breezed past the Bucks 102-91, hitting 11 of their 12 three pointers in the first half while building a 59-49 lead.
"Our energy and effort in the first half wasn't up to par." Head coach Jason Kidd said after the game. "They had a lot of warm-up threes and they made them."
"They were just breaking down our defense and (getting) offensive rebounds," Khris Middleton said. "That was the main thing."
Much like Thursday, the Bucks cut down a large deficit but were unable to capitalize in the end. The Pistons led by as many as 16 points, but Middleton's 11-point third quarter effort helped Milwaukee trim the lead to five on multiple occasions. Middleton seemed to be the only offensive bright spot for the Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo going 3-for-11 from the field and Jabari Parker only finishing with 13. The former Piston led the team in points, finishing with 26.
Milwaukee still had a chance to win trailing 80-73 heading into the fourth, but a sloppy final stanza evaporated any momentum they had gained after halftime. Six turnovers, 11 personal fouls and 32 percent shooting in the fourth stopped Milwaukee from mustering another run. The Bucks ended the game with a total of 23 turnovers.
"We've haven't been consistent with slowing our turnovers down," Middleton said. "It's a problem we've got to correct and slow down."
Five players finished in double-figures for the Pistons, who were led by Reggie Jackson's 22 points and eight assists. Andre Drummond finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds, while Marcus Morris added 20.
— Detroit entered the game attempting 26.5 from three and finished the game with 30. The 12 shots they made were the fifth-most the Bucks have allowed an opponent to make all season.
— Detroit only committed one turnover in the first half.
— Drummond didn't grab a single rebound in the second quarter after pulling down nine in the first. He still finished with 17.
— Giannis nearly recorded another triple-double despite going 3-for-11: Eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
— Michael Carter-Williams committed seven turnovers tonight, tying his season-high, before O.J. Mayo replaced him for midway through the fourth quarter.
— Steve Novak collided with Reggie Jackson near the end of the fourth quarter and needed help getting to the locker room. He sustained a sprained knee and will have an MRI tomorrow. "He's been a plus since he's gotten here for us," Kidd said. "Hopefully it's not that serious because we'll miss him in a big way."
— Jerryd Bayless (sprained left knee) will return to practice tomorrow, according to Kidd. He hopes Bayless will be able to play Monday vs. the Houston Rockets. Bayless injured his knee at practice the night the Bucks returned from the All-Star break on Feb. 18.
— There are a number of regular occurrences that show the Bucks' youth, but the most obvious characteristic is their complete inability to stop a run without Jason Kidd calling a timeout. The game starts to get sloppy and they just can't put together quality possessions to clean it up.
— In the first quarter, Antetokounmpo dribbled under the rim to create a dunk for Plumlee. It wasn't a full Steve Nash, but I'm willing to say it was a half Nash.
— While defenses have to pay attention to Antetokounmpo when he goes baseline, they rarely cover him closely when the Bucks use him in pick and roll and handoff actions in the middle of the floor. The Bucks need to find a way to leverage the indifference of opposing defenses into quality looks like the Clippers and Warriors (scroll to #7 near the bottom of the piece) do with DeAndre Jordan and Andrew Bogut.
In about 10 minutes of court time, Steve Novak has already surpassed Chris Copeland in terms of contributions to the Bucks' season.— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) February 28, 2016
— I'm not sure I've seen a worse defensive play than Parker jumping to completely take himself out of position on this inbounds play. Sixth graders get pulled from the game for that.
— Well, maybe this:
— When Kidd sticks with a struggling Antetokounmpo, Parker, Middleton, or Monroe, it can be frustrating, but ultimately you likely understand his thought process. When Carter-Williams looks as helpless as he did in the second half tonight, it's tough to understand sticking with him as he struggles.
— Tonight featured a number of the things that have frustrated Bucks fans at various points this season: poor three point defense, sloppy play from Carter-Williams, a heavy playmaking load on Middleton, and maybe a little bit too much Monroe.
— #HotTake (maybe, I'm not sure): Rashad Vaughn is going to be a good defender in two years.