The Milwaukee Bucks made up for their loss to Boston with a grind-it-out victory over the visiting Detroit Pistons tonight, 104-100. Milwaukee paced themselves to a 30-27 lead after one quarter with the birthday boy, Giannis Antetokounmpo, leading all scorers at 13 points. By halftime, Milwaukee had cushioned their lead to nine, beating Detroit 60-51 as Eric Bledsoe chipped in 14 points in a sweet shooting 53.5% half for the Bucks. The second half saw Detroit prolong what looked to be an open-and-shut game down the stretch, but Milwaukee managed to pull this one out in the end.
Scoring a quality win over an upper echelon Eastern Conference opponent is another notch in Milwaukee’s growing belt of impressive wins. Tonight’s matchup was a fitting addition to that resume, particularly with surprising performances from bench players that wouldn’t usually help Milwaukee win games *cough* Rashad Vaughn *cough*.
A quiet second half didn’t deter Giannis from still putting up a competent stat line, notching 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and two assists for the evening. His five turnovers marred what was otherwise a relatively impressive night for the newly minted 23 year old.
Besides him, both Bledsoe and Khris Middleton showed up as competent sidekicks in what’s becoming a common occurrence for their 1B and 1C options. Bledsoe ended with 22 points and Middleton finished at 21 points and six assists. Rashad Vaughn, who saw his first action in some time taking over for the injured Jason Terry, managed to accrue 11 points on the evening with a few confident deep jumpers and drives to the hoop.
Andre Drummond led the Pistons with an overpowering 27 points, 20 rebounds and six assists to dominate the Bucks at times down low. He was backed up by a 21-point night from Tobias Harris and a poor shooting 5-13 performance by Avery Bradley that still wound up with 20 points.