What if I told you, D.J. Wilson would play 26 minutes in a game for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Detroit Pistons, and still come out with a +2 plus-minus in a winning effort. You’d call me crazy right? Somehow, that unprecedented event occurred. Despite foul trouble sending Giannis Antetokounmpo to the bench early in the first quarter, the Bucks still trailed only 27-25 after one. In the second period, Milwaukee managed to curtail the Pistons’ offense and pulled ahead 55-43 by halftime. A late 10-0 push by the Pistons coupled with some abhorrent offensive possessions for the Bucks cut their lead to just four as the fourth quarter began. Milwaukee pushed to a 7-point lead late, but the Pistons forced their way back before a Blake Griffin 3-point attempt clanged off the rim to secure the win for Milwaukee 107-104.
On a night when Giannis faced foul trouble all evening, forcing his backup D.J. Wilson into extended minutes against Griffin, escaping with a victory is a win no matter how ugly the performance. More importantly, it’s nice to see Milwaukee pulling out close wins.
Giannis was a mammoth down low tonight, posting a hyper-efficient 15-21 shooting performance en route to 32 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. He got plenty of brutal calls tonight though, with Flop Griffin doing his best Peeves impression on the court as Giannis made his way to the basket.
Khris Middleton finally found his groove again from the floor, particularly to start the game before leveling out, but was able to end up with 22 points and six assists due in part to a 3-6 performance from deep. Eric Bledsoe had an identical 7-16 performance as Middleton, going for 17 points.
Reggie Bullock returning from injury proved every bit the Buck Killer in his 34 minutes, leading the Pistons with 24 points off 5-7 from deep. Griffin had 19 despite a 4-13 night from the field, while Stanley Johnson inexplicably hit 4-7 from three to add 20 for the Pistons’ losing effort.
Stat that Stood Out
Pick any of Wilson’s stats to choose from. A career-high 26 minutes, his nine points, 4-5 shooting or three assists. Given it was against the Pistons, it’s nothing to get carried away with, but any progress is notable for Wilson with the point he’s at in Bucks’ fans minds. I’ll point to his decent defense standing up Blake Griffin in the second quarter as his most important contribution.