It finally happened. Your Milwaukee Bucks have finally shed the stink of first round series losses, sweeping the Detroit Pistons with a 127-104 win on the back of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Detroit played their best basketball yet to start off the first quarter, but the Bucks battled back to make it just a 28-26 advantage for the Pistons after one. The teams exchanged a series of hot shooting streaks back and forth, but the Bucks still trailed 62-56 at halftime. Finally, the Bucks broke through in the third with frenetic drives to force trips to the free throw line, leading 95-85 through three. That momentum continued into the fourth, as the Bucks pulled away to secure the win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was back to his death-defying dastardly play tonight, putting up a playoff career-high 41 points to go along with nine rebounds, three assists and four blocks. His play was punctuated by a skying block of Reggie Jackson and a number of nifty finishes around the rim. He pummeled the Pistons at the rim in the third quarter, drawing repeated fouls against the Pistons.
Giannis didn’t have a whole host of help from his teammates tonight, but they were also more than willing to defer to him for the night and put up solid scores when they needed to. Khris Middleton went 5-11 from the field for 18 points, but didn’t stuff the rest of the box score the way he has throughout this series. Eric Bledsoe had a strong second half to finish with 16 points and five assists. Credit to Sterling Brown, who had 13 rebounds, six assists and nine points (in order of impressiveness) and Nikola Mirotic, who had a second straight decent offensive game with 12 points.
Blake Griffin really did put forth a heroic hometown effort in the elimination game, clearly playing through pain but still managing 22 points, five rebounds and six assists. All credit to that man for powering through a clear injury and showing out, massive respect. I was glad he fouled out so I didn’t have to worry about him somehow getting hurt worse. Andre Drummond finally didn’t look like a sieve on the court in this series, ending the contest at 15 points and 12 rebounds. Reggie Jackson was solid, shooting it well to end at 26 points and seven assists.
Stat that Stood Out
Milwaukee left plenty of points on the board in the first half with a poor 14-23 performance from the free throw line. Giannis, in particular, had a tough go of it. In the third, that didn’t stop them from attacking the foul-heavy Pistons. The Bucks went 14-15 from the line in the third period alone, propelling them finally ahead of Detroit to regain control of the game. That scoring binge only continued into the fourth quarter to salt this one away.