After a clean-sharpshooting dispatch of the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, 129-115, the Milwaukee Bucks hope their winning ways can continue within the friendly confines of the Fiserv Forum against the Detroit Pistons tonight.
Winners of seven of their last eight, the Milwaukee Bucks are officially rolling. Giannis is drawing near unanimous MVP acclaim, Khris Middleton might be breaking free of the ice shackles on his wrist in December and Milwaukee enters the New Year with the very best record in the NBA. There’s not much to be upset about right now if you’re a Bucks fan. Even the much-maligned D.J. Wilson has given us all cause to be somewhat optimistic. After some tentativeness in the season’s early stages, Giannis looks like he’s growing fully accustomed to Bud’s system, and during this winning stretch he’s led them in points all but once, that horrific game against Miami.
Player to Watch: D.J. Wilson
Wilson’s trial by fire this season came a couple weeks ago against Detroit, when the Bucks tasked him with matching up against Blake Griffin. Blake got his, but Wilson held his own far more than any Bucks fan would’ve expected. Tonight, I’ll be curious to see how the Pistons look to attack that same matchup now that there’s a bit more tape to go off of for Wilson. How he handles this defensive assignment should be worthwhile in seeing further progression from the second-year player.
Since an inexplicable win to start December against the Golden State Warriors, the Pistons went just 3-11 for the remainder of the month. Talk about stalling out. They’re fresh off a loss against the Orlando Magic as well, where Luke Kennard somehow managed to be their leading scorer at 16 points. While Dwane Casey has the Pistons ranked 7th in terms of frequency of shots from deep, that isn’t too useful when your team is ranked dead last in terms of 3-point percentage (32.8%). In fact, the only place they’re ranked in the top ten in terms of field goal percentage is from the long midrange zone. Beautiful. They’re just the 24th ranked offense in the league, while Sean Sweeney (defensive mastermind according to Casey) does have Detroit playing pretty solid defense, ranked 10th per Cleaning The Glass. Milwaukee hasn’t had too much trouble carving them up though, so hopefully that will be the case again tonight.
Henry Ellenson and Ish Smith are out for the Pistons.
Player to Watch: Andre Drummond
How far back Drummond sags on Brook Lopez offensively should be a key to whether Splash Mountain is humming along tonight or hitting a mechanical failure. Lopez came within one make of tying his career-high 3-pointers made against Brooklyn, who sagged Jarrett Allen’s ‘frodom all the way down to the paint, likely in an attempt to thwart Giannis’ drives. That didn’t matter in the end, but I expect Drummond will employ a similar tactic tonight. It’ll be up to the supplementary players to ensure the Pistons pay.
Game 36: Against the Pistons, the Bucks will...
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