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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons Preview: Needing a Spark

The Bucks head to Detroit, where they haven’t lost in nearly four years

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Losers of three straight games, the banged-up Milwaukee Bucks look to get off the schneid at Little Caeser’s Arena by facing their favorite whipping boys: the Detroit Pistons.

Where We’re At

Still lacking key contributors, the Bucks are scuffling of late, even against mediocre (at best) teams over the past week. Fresh off a loss to the (not mediocre) Utah Jazz on Halloween, Milwaukee now faces a team it has not lost to since Mike Budenholzer was hired as head coach, and indeed one of the worst teams in the NBA. A W would avoid dipping more than a game below .500 for the first time since November 2017. They’re still not really any healthier: as of writing, Khris Middleton will miss a second game with a non-COVID-related illness, joined on the sidelines again by Brook Lopez (sore back) and Jrue Holiday (left ankle sprain). Giannis appeared to be having some trouble with his left knee (the one he hyperextended in the Eastern Conference Finals) on Sunday night so he is also on the injury report, joined by Grayson Allen, whose other knee is sore. Thankfully, both are probable. One good piece of news is that X-rays and other scans on Rodney Hood’s shooting hand came back negative, so he’s probable with a hand contusion.

Detroit has just one win on the young season over similarly-hapless Orlando and is coming off a 26-point shellacking in Brooklyn. Much like their championship opponent tonight, the rebuilding Pistons have dealt with the injuries to key players: last year’s breakout star Jerami Grant and this year’s first overall draft choice Cade Cunningham. The latter could see his second career start this evening and the dynamic rookie is looking to improve on a 2-point debut in 19 minutes against the Magic three days ago. Second-year wing Saddiq Bey is probable with an ankle sprain and five Pistons are on G League assignments, but the entire Detroit roster is available otherwise.

Player To Watch

Here’s an easy one: Kelly Olynyk. The ninth-year big man has long drawn Bucks fans’ (or at least my) ire with questionable (i.e. dirty) defensive plays and a knack for knocking down plenty of triples. I was glad to see him unceremoniously jettisoned from the Heat last spring; since then he’s toiled away with bottomfeeders in Houston and now Detroit. His 3P% is down at 30.4% on the young season so perhaps he won’t give his squad the usual boost when facing Milwaukee.



Poll

Game 8: Against Detroit, the Bucks will…

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (43 votes)
  • 44%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (55 votes)
  • 17%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (21 votes)
  • 3%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (4 votes)
123 votes total Vote Now

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