Revenge is on the Milwaukee Bucks mind heading into tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons. A lot has happened in the twelve days since the two teams last met, but the Bucks find themselves in a pretty similar spot.
After coming out flat in Detroit and dropping the first of what would turn out to be four games in a row, the Bucks have rebounded with two impressive efforts, the latter being another double-digit comeback in Chicago against the Bulls. Spirits are once again high in Milwaukee, and a lot of it can simply be attributed to making shots, but more on that later.
The Pistons come in with a 13-23 record, but have played really well of late, with their only loss in the last five games coming in overtime against the Charlotte Bobcats. They also have a knack of playing the Bucks tight, so that record is nothing to take lightly.
Pistons: What to watch for
Via Patrick Hayes at PistonPowered:
” A few things to expect:
– Don’t expect a Pistons win. The team is just 3-14 on the road this season. Two of those wins were against two of the league’s worst teams, Washington and Cleveland. The third, against Philadelphia, was back in November. The Pistons, like most bad teams, simply rarely play well on the road.”
Also, Andre Drummond has somehow hidden the fact that he’s a jedi from the entire league. I imagine that this is frowned upon by Stern and company.
Bucks: What to watch for
As I mentioned before, the Bucks’ very recent success has come as a result of making shots (as always seems to be the case). Brandon Jennings has been at the forefront of this, going 21-for-39 from the field and 10-17 from three since interim coach Jim Boylan took over. Jennings and the Bucks are riding high for the time being (as those are expected to come back down to earth) and are playing with a new found..well, swagger. Jennings has even acknowledged as much. From Yahoo! Ball Don’t Lie:
“I felt like I can do what I want. I’ve got my swagger now. I can clown around, dance, do what I want. I might end up changing my hair back again. I think just overall, the confidence that the team has. Everybody’s playing with confidence. Guys are just playing free. We’re not really thinking right now; we’re just hooping.”
While we’re all in the camp that doesn’t believe this offensive outburst is sustainable, it is revivifying to see the Jennings swagger that made his rookie year so memorable. Coincidentally, that is the last time the Bucks made the playoffs.
Also of note, LARRY SANDERS! The Bucks big man has 25 blocks in 2013, in only five games. That’s insane. Look for him to extend his consecutive games with 4+ blocks to to six, getting closer and closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s franchise record of eight straight games.
Bucks’ bigs vs. Pistons’ bigs. In the last matchup, Tayshaun Prince/Jason Maxiell/Greg Monroe/Drummond were getting whatever shots they desired against Milwaukee’s interior, combining to shoot 58% from the field. The consistency to which they were making shots routinely took the wind out of the Bucks’ sails, and eventually is what led them to the loss in Detroit (despite Monta Ellis‘s best efforts).
The Bucks’ frontcourt frustrations on defense affected their offense, as there was no energy to be found from anyone. If this new found swagger is legitimate, than the frontcourt should have a much better outing this time around.
Where and when?
The game will be on FSN-WI at 7:30pm, with hopefully a lot less audio difficulty.
Courtesy of PistonPowered, the Pistons top two players (in terms of WinShares) are only together on the court 8% of the time (Monroe and Drummond). The Bucks rank 23rd in this stat, with Jennings and Sanders being on the court together only 41% of the time.
Expect yet another pesky first half battle. The Bucks, however, are outscoring their opponents by 30 in the second half of games under Jim Boylan. Expect something similar, with the Bucks pulling away and winning 98-85.