With the home stand coming to a close and the Thanksgiving holiday just a day away, the Milwaukee Bucks have one more matchup to take care of before the feasting can begin. In all likelihood, the Bucks will feast on the court, as the cellar-dwelling Detroit Pistons are coming to town.
Where We’re At
The Bucks have weathered the worst of their early season storm, where injuries depleted the roster and put just about everything on the shoulders of Giannis Antetokounmpo (and Grayson Allen!) The going was tough at the beginning of the year, and the schedule is about to pick back up in December, with more than half of the team’s game coming on the road. For now, though, the Bucks have a chance to reinforce their winning streak, after taking four straight off the Lakers, Thunder, and Magic (twice).
Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo remain out and joining them on the bench is Semi Ojeleye, who suffered another calf injury and is sidelined for at least three weeks. Ojeleye might be thankful for the break, given how poorly his season has started. He was never expected to be 100% of PJ Tucker, but aside from a handful of threes he hasn’t cleared even the lowered bar. With roughly one-quarter of the regular season gone by, time is running out for Semi to show his value to this Bucks team…but he might only be able to do so once fully healthy. Here’s hoping his recovery is smooth.
For Detroit, it’s more of the same: lots of losses and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel…but only just. Prized rookie Cade Cunningham took a little bit to get going, but over the first full month of his professional career he’s at least proven that he belongs on an NBA court. Expectations remain high for the top overall pick, but thus far he’s meeting them.
Cunningham is proving to be everything Piston fans envisioned when selecting him with the first overall pick. He has brought a swagger and confidence to the city of Detroit, reminding us fans what it’s like to have a true franchise centrepiece on the roster. In only 11 games, it’s clear the franchise rests on the shoulders of Cunningham, he’s the alpha dog, the guy that will transition the franchise from restoration to domination.
On the health side of things, Detroit will be thinner than we last saw them: Killian Hayes (thumb) and Kelly Olynyk (knee) are out, as is Isaiah Stewart who…well, got suspended for some roughhousin’ with LeBron James:
LeBron and Isaiah Stewart get into it— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2021
Player To Watch
Khris Middleton earns the focus here, but not because he was originally drafted by the Pistons. After an 8-game absence, Khris’ last four games have been merely “good.” He’s a welcome breath of fresh air in the playmaking department (averaging 5.0 assists since his return, and 4.7 per game on the season) but his shooting has not been to the levels we’re accustomed. Always streaky, Middleton’s numbers in November don’t matter (he’s already proven, time and time again, that he hits shots when they matter), but a nice tune-up of the Tough Shot Express against Detroit might be a welcome sight as the schedule increases in difficulty over the coming weeks.
Game 19: Against Detroit, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)