In yet another sold-out and raucous Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Bucks would best the Detroit Pistons yet again, snagging both a 120-99 victory and a 2-0 series lead.
This one definitely was more interesting from the tip. Immediately out of the gates, one could sense that the Pistons came to play with more firepower. They were more aggressive with their shot selection, their defense, and overall physicality as play began. Despite the new style of play, Milwaukee was still able to weather the storm early on, as the first quarter ended with the Bucks claiming a 38-27 lead.
It’d be the second quarter where the Pistons put up the best quarter we’ve seen from them this series. The physicality that Dwane Casey had been preaching at every one of his pre and postgame pressers made an appearance. His team was much more engaged with the activity on the floor, especially on the defensive end. I’m not sure how exactly how many charges they earned during this period, but it was enough to frustrate the Bucks and their offensive goals. At halftime, Detroit clung to a 59-58 advantage.
The Pistons’ luck would definitely run out in the third. A quick run right out of the gates propelled the Bucks back in front and they’d never really look back. It was to be expected, however, it was such a gradual move that it still somewhat always felt close. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s how it felt to me and others on press row. All in all, I guess it’s a good thing that the Bucks can still hold a massive double-figure lead even when it seems like they’re not playing their best basketball.
For Milwaukee, Eric Bledsoe led the way with 27 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo would finish right at his heels with 26 points, and Khris Middleton contributed with 24 of his own.
Luke Kennard earned his first start of the series and provided a spark of 19 points. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond each had 18 points of their own.
Welcome to the Bledshow.
Ah, remember the playoff struggles that Eric Bledsoe went through last season? Neither does he. He had quite the performance Wednesday evening, as he totaled 27 points (a playoff career-high), 6 rebounds, and four assists. It’s quite comforting to know that the Bucks are lucky enough to have a roster that can provide the luxury of balanced scoring, and last night was a great example of that. At times, the Pistons would frustrate Giannis, forcing the Bucks to look elsewhere for their points. Eric Bledsoe stepped up great in that scenario. It didn’t matter where or how he got his points, all that mattered is that he got him. We’ve always heard him express himself as a pitbull, and that was on full display last night with his aggressive manner in maneuvering to the hole. A fantastic performance from the Bucks point guard.
Planet Pat provided a well-needed boost.
I think it’s safe to say that Playoff Thon has been replaced with Playoff Pat. It was yet another strong performance for the Notre Dame product, as he came off the pine and made his presence felt with an 18 point showing. On a night where all other bench players would tally just a combined total of nine points, those efforts were fully appreciated. It really seemed that whenever Milwaukee was in dire need of a hoop, Pat was there to answer. It wasn’t just the offensive end of the basketball where he shined either. He’d register not one, not two, not three, but four blocks on the game. His overall athleticism and skill set never ceases to amaze me, and I’m sure his importance will continue to shine throughout this series and the rest of the playoffs.
It was nice knowing ya, Thon.
We’ve all heard Giannis refer to Thon as his little brother, and let me tell you, that was on full display last night. First, he disrespected him with this wild dunk:
Giannis YAMS it on Thon pic.twitter.com/JvtZFjFcQw— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 18, 2019
Wowzers. There are always a few times where you can hear audible gasps from people on press row, and this was one of them. Mercy.
Things wouldn’t go much better for Thon on the offensive side of the ball either:
Giannis treating 7’1 Thon Maker’s shot like he’s a 5’9 guard. pic.twitter.com/xyVTJAiwhw— Grind City Media (@grindcitymedia) April 18, 2019
That block was so nice that even Thon gave it a round of applause after. In short, you always have to be on the lookout if you’re the little brother. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the basketball court, in the backseat, or at the kitchen table when Mom isn’t looking, always be thinking one step ahead. Source: I have two older brothers.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- The star-power was out in full force at Fiserv Forum for this one. It seemed as if every notable athlete from the state of Wisconsin made an appearance. Christian Yelich, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Braun, David Stearns, Craig Counsell, and many more notable faces in the crowd for this one. It worked out well that the Brewers had an afternoon game and were able to come out. It had me thinking though, at what other time were there (presumably) four MVP’s in one building (Giannis — yes, I’m counting him, Yelich, Rodgers, and Braun)? Definitely cool to see.
- David Bakhhtiari has earned free Spotted Cow for the rest of his life:
From all the wild moments that have gone down at Fiserv Forum in its inaugural season, I think this might take the cake. It doesn’t get any more Wisconsin than that, folks. Pump this into my veins.
- Getting back to basketball, Giannis did miss a pair of free throws, as he went 3-of-5 from the line. He’s now 8-of-17 from the charity stripe this season, a stat you definitely want to see rise in percentage. Definitely something to keep an eye on as we advance in this series.
- Despite the Bucks coming out strong in the second half, it was a little nice to see how they dealt with the adversity that Detroit handed them. It was clear that they were frustrated at times, but they did a terrific job of weathering the storm and realizing the task at hand. We’ve grown accustomed to this so many times during the regular season. The Bucks won’t have the greatest of first halves, but then the resiliency will kick in and they’ll take care of business in the second half. Very great and encouraging to see in the postseason.
- Some people were clamoring at the refs on Twitter about the charges the Pistons were taking on Twitter, but I don’t really have a comment since I didn’t see any replay. Nonetheless, this was an area where the Pistons wanted to exploit the Bucks coming into this series and they accomplished their goal in that department last night. Let’s see if they can do that again in Game 3.
- Last, somehow Blake Griffin got ANOTHER technical foul. I don’t know what he said to the refs in these two games, but it must be pretty mean if he’s picking up techs while wearing a suit. I wonder if this scenario has occurred in NBA postseason history before. I highly doubt it has. Nonetheless, Griffin continues to make an impact without even playing a single minute.