Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Time: 6 PM Central
Hello Pistons, our old friend, we’ve come to play with you again…
That’s right, folks, the Detroit Pistons are once again on the Milwaukee Bucks’ calendar, as the two sides are set to square off on Wednesday night in the Motor City. This is a rivalry that has skewed heavily in the Bucks’ favor in recent times, as Milwaukee has won the last 13 games between the two (nine regular season and four playoffs), with only one of those being a single-digit defeat for Detroit.
So, justifiably, the Bucks are coming into this game as a heavy favorite, 10.5 points as of writing to be exact. Despite this, though, you never know in the NBA, so let’s take a look together at some of the key points in this matchup. This is your Bucks Preview.
Stopping the Greek Freak, a back-to-back MVP, is a daunting yet important task for any NBA team, one which has proven especially difficult for these Detroit Pistons. In their 2019 playoff matchup, Giannis averaged 26.3 points and 12 rebounds per game on the way to a four-game sweep. In addition, just recently on January 4th, he put up 43 on this same Pistons team. The point being, the Pistons are going to need to neutralize Giannis as much as they can to increase any chance they may have in this contest.
Bobby The Brawn
In the past couple of seasons, the Bucks’ famed “Bench Mob” has been an undeniably crucial part of their regular-season success. From guys like Donte DiVincenzo and George Hill to Robin Lopez, the ability for the second unit to step on the court and contribute has been huge for Milwaukee. However, few have come on the scene and electrified this unit quite like Bobby Portis has this year.
A quiet journeyman prior to this year, with the Bucks being his fourth team in just his sixth season, Portis has always done what is asked of him on the court, putting together solid averages of 10.2 points and 5.9 rebounds over his first five seasons. This year, though, Portis has shined in his role, putting up nearly 12 points along with eight rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game. While this is the second most minutes averaged during his career, Portis is making the absolute most of them thus far this season, and he has become a quick fan favorite during just his first 11 games in a Bucks uniform.
Out For Revenge
At just 2-8 up to this point, the Detroit Pistons have had a tough time of it to start the 2020-21 season. With their only two wins coming after losing streaks of four and three games respectively, the Pistons are desperate to not allow things to become any worse, and what better team to try to right the ship against than their most dominant division rival?
On paper, the Pistons have some solid players in their rotation including Jerami Grant and Blake Griffin, the former of whom scored 28 in their most recent contest, a loss to the Jazz. From there, though, the roster quickly thins out, with just two other players scoring in double digits in that game, in Griffin (10) and rookie Saddiq Bey (12). As desperate for a decent stretch as the Pistons may be, and even if the Bucks don’t happen to perform at their peak, I just do not see too much of a chance for Detroit in this one.
Prediction: Bucks over the Pistons 121-97