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Milwaukee vs. Detroit: Bucks Beat Pistons, Win Fifth Straight

Thanksgiving doesn’t have an L in it, either.

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NBA: Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the holiday season here in the United States, and that means it’s a time of traditions. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means everything you think it means. There’s meal prep, traveling long distances, thinking of ways to defuse that argument about politics you desperately want to avoid and, if you’re lucky, spending quality time with friends and family.

It’s fitting that, here in this time of traditions, the Milwaukee Bucks casually blow out the Detroit Pistons, 114-93.

What Did We Learn?

There is very, very little to take way from this game. Detroit was on the second game of a back to back (SEGABABA!), just flew in from Miami (where they lost) and, as has been the case for a few years, is not very good. The Bucks held double-digit advantages in both overall field goal percentage and three-point percentage for the whole game, which was largely the driver behind their double-digit point advantage. NBA basketball is complicated...except when it’s not.

Three Observations

The audition for Semi Ojeleye’s role has begun. The early contenders for the backup forward spot are Rodney Hood and Jordan Nwora, and Nwora figures to be the front-runner...for now. Each of these two played similar minutes, but it was Nwora who shared the floor with the Bucks’ closing lineup of Giannis-Jrue-Middleton-Connaughton midway through the fourth quarter.

Maybe Bobby Portis’ shooting wasn’t a fluke last year. After vacillating in the high-30s for much of his career, Bobby Portis (28 points on 14 shots, plus 10 rebounds) reached a career high last year with a 47.1% conversion rate. It was long thought to be an aberration and most assumed that his shooting would drop off this season. That’s not the case, as Portis’ current rate is at 46.2%, and over the last four games he’s been an inferno at 68.0%. Moreover, he partook in the Pat Connaughton Offseason Shooting Plan, which increased his frequency to a career-high level (7.9 threes attempted per 100 possessions). We all want Brook Lopez to come back – and the Bucks defense desperately needs him to come back – but for now the Giannis/Bobby combination is producing some killer offense.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is absurd. It too often goes without saying, but we are lucky to have Giannis Antetokounmpo at the height of his powers. He lacked his usual level of “pop” this evening, but still managed to plow through the tissue-thin Pistons defense to the tune of 33 points (on 17 shots), hitting 8-for-10 from the foul line, and adding 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. This is not a normal stat line, but it’s run-of-the-mill for Giannis, who looked like he might have been fatigued early in the game. Be thankful.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Tonight was the return of Good Jrue Holiday, who poured in 22 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists, and who started things off with a dunk off a nifty pass from Giannis.
  • As mentioned in the preview, Khris Middleton has struggled since returning from his COVID absence, and the struggle continued tonight (11 points on 17 shots). He’ll get there in due time.
  • Grayson Allen was strangely muted, putting up only three points on the night. The team didn’t need his scoring and, to his credit, he didn’t force things, attempting only six shots.
  • Milwaukee was +12 on the boards tonight, largely due to the lethargic Pistons defensive efforts, further undermined because of how undersized they were.
  • This has nothing to do with the Bucks whatsoever, but how is this a charge?!
  • It’s Thanksgiving Eve, which means it’s standard fare for younger people who are traveling home to visit family are also catching up with old friends and acquaintances from school, usually at bars and such. If you’re one of those younger people (which, if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t…but you might know one of them!), stay safe out there tonight. And, like, in general. But especially tonight.

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