Milwaukee may have finally gotten their breakout game from Khris Middleton with 43 points against the Hornets, but it went for naught with the team falling 126-121. Giannis fought through foul trouble, but ended the night at just 14 points total, by far his lowest output of the season. While Middleton and company’s offensive output was more than enough to secure a win, the Bucks porous defense reared its head again to surrender an obscene amount of points to a Charlotte squad whose offense ranks in the bottom half of the league. John Henson started the game for Milwaukee, and I would guess that’s the case again tonight with burly Andre Drummond manning the center position for the Pistons.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
An obvious one today, but after Giannis struggled with fouls over the last two games, I’ll be curious if he’s skiddish playing with the same level of aggressiveness that’s netted him all that MVP chatter so far. His long-limbed limberness allows him to finish in ridiculous ways, but it can also look like a giant squid absorbing defenders at times as refs struggle with how to call him. His uber-efficiency remains unparalleled though and Detroit has few defenders, even among their army of wings, that I’d take against Giannis tonight.
Detroit is off to a surprising start after their disappointing dud of a season last year. A healthy Reggie Jackson is better than whatever form he took in the prior season. Avery Bradley’s provided a competent replacement for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond is somehow nailing free throws at a 70% clip. Their takedown of the Warriors isn’t too profound given Golden State’s general apathy to this point, but their bounce back to relevancy means they’re in the thick of a messy Eastern Conference standings early in the season.
Player to Watch: Tobias Harris
The former Buck is balling out this year, averaging career-highs in per-36 with 22.6 points and hammering home 3-pointers at a 43.8% clip on 6.6 attempts. Even if no other appreciable part of his off-the-dribble or finishing game improved, that’s enough to up his efficiency in a meaningful way. The Bucks will have to keep him honest from beyond the arc, making sure to close out on him properly while giving the bricklaying duo of Henry Ellenson and Stanley Johnson more leeway with their iffy shooting from deep.