It was extremely hard to get motivated to watch the Milwaukee Bucks versus the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night with the horrible, terroristic events that unfolded at the United States Capitol. However, both teams held a moment of solidarity after the tip with Giannis Antetokounmpo throwing the ball out after winning the tip and every player and coach took a knee. The Pistons took a shot clock violation on their first possession, too.
UNITED. pic.twitter.com/RCUuGY4HMN— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 7, 2021
In all, this game was over in the second quarter with the Bucks offense humming along and their defense forcing Detroit to take awful shots. We think Giannis takes a lot of unnecessary three-pointers, but how about Blake Griffin? Oy vey.
In all, Milwaukee won their third consecutive game, 130-115.
What Did We Learn?
Well, I genuinely feel bad for the Pistons and their fan base. Their roster construction is so poor that it is blatantly obvious they need to tank, but won’t commit to it. Why are they constantly in the lottery? Well, look no further than their draft history...which is incredulous, to say the least.
Anyways, no matter the age, uniform, or arena, Derrick Rose will always play well versus Milwaukee. Remember how he used to torment Brandon Jennings back in the day? He was the only Piston to get anything going offensively, but exited early due to injury. He played 11 minutes but scored 10 points, the majority of which came on floaters. He also scored 24 points on Monday in the first matchup. Like him or not, you know what you are going to get with D. Rose at this point.
Three Four Observations
Brook Lopez was making it rain. While his three-point percentage is up to 38.5 (will be higher after the win) he has scored more than 10 points just once this year. His offensive production has been quiet thus far so it was encouraging to see him get back to the Splash Mountain from two season ago. It was odd to see the Pistons just leave him wide-open on the perimeter as he continued to knock down three-pointers. He ended the route with 17 points, four rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots. He also sunk 6-of-9 shots from the floor.
Giannis Antetokounmpo LOVES going up against Blake Griffin. The last two seasons these two teams square off Griffin would initiate some “scrums” against the Bucks and Giannis and I am not sure why. We already know Carmelo Anthony is on “the list,” but Blake might have taken the top spot. Giannis was in attack mode early and it was clear that he wanted to take it right at Blake and Mason Plumlee, who provided zero resistance in the painted area this two game series. He did have a few possessions offensively where he turned it over after getting too over zealous and of course, attempted some head-scratching threes. These games, though, are great tuneups for Antetokounmpo and company to get acclimated together on both ends of the floor. He played only 28 minutes and scored 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists, but committed five turnovers.
Death, taxes, and Khris Middleton killing his former team. It was a much cleaner game for Middleton than the turnover prone performance he had against them on Monday. He dropped 23 points, five rebounds, and seven assists (two turnovers) in 27 minutes. It was another flying under the radar offensive performance for Khris who was getting whatever he wanted from the midrange and downtown. He converted on 9-of-15 shots and 5-of-6 three-pointers. His smoothest shot was a heavily-contested step-back three-pointer over Jerami Grant. Khris torches the Pistons and Celtics like clockwork, who else is on the list?
Milwaukee’s offense is potent, to say the least. Milwaukee has the league-best offense this season and it certainly matches the eye test. While the Bucks had volume last season from the three-point line they shot a mediocre 35.5% on those attempts. This season, though, they’re shooting a white-hot 43.6%. The addition of Bryn Forbes has elevated the Bucks and he plays his role well. Shoot the ball and try to play some defense. He and Giannis have already developed a nice chemistry on certain plays where Antetokounmpo is the ball handler. Additionally, D.J. Augustin is starting to pick things up. He made shot 2-of-4 on threes and is now 5-of-7 the last two games. Both Forbes (40.1%) and Augustin (38%) have made three-pointers at a high clip throughout their careers. These are two offseason additions that flew under the radar this offseason but they are both helping the Milwaukee Bucks win basketball games.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Bobby Portis might be BOBBY PORTIS! He was a machine on Wednesday night and was flexing all over the place after dunking on Blake Griffin. I chuckled. In all seriousness, it’s nice to have a player like that on the Bucks. High energy, high intensity. A player you love to have on your team, but hate to go up against. He finished with a 16-point 11-rebound double-double in 27 minutes while shooting 7-of-11 from the field.
- Jordan Nwora was MUCH better on Wednesday than he was on Monday. The rookie didn’t play like one as one of his buckets was a beautiful step-back three early in the shot clock in the first half. It was one of those shots where you say “no no no” to yourself, but exhale once it goes in. This is the perfect time for him to earn his minutes as Pat Connaughton nurses an injury and there is a void to temporarily replace his production. He broke out with 11 points while making all three of his triples.
- More playmaking from Donte DiVincenzo against Detroit. Although his shot was off for the second game in a row, he made some beautiful pocket passes. He finished with only one assist, but he had a handful of secondary, hockey assists.
- More of the same from point guard Jrue Holiday in the win. He was quiet offensively (10 points) but was consistently trying to set up his teammates. Holiday has been very unselfish in his short tenure with the Bucks.
- Saddiq Bey was a slam dunk pick for Detroit. Yep, you read that right. A slam dunk pick by the Pistons. He’s up to nearly 42% from distance and his shot was on full display versus the Bucks (albeit during garbage time). He made six threes and tallied 20 points.
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo is going to be a thing this season, I guess! He made all four shots in 12 minutes but finished minus-8 in a game that was not close.