Game Tips at 8:30 P.M. EST
Detroit Pistons: 18-32 (5-21 road)
Milwaukee Bucks:19-29 (11-10 home)
Calmly and quietly, rookie Greg Monroe had his way with the Nyets in Auburn Hills last night. The Monroad Warrior's first 20-10 performance came upon the return of Ben Wallace to the starting lineup, shifting Monroe to power forward with an added emphasis on offense. The starting lineup remains the same tonight, as The Moose takes on The Deer in the brewery capitol of the world.
Andrew Bogut is doubtful for tonight's game, leaving Milwaukee with a light-yet-energetic frontcourt pairing of Ersan Ilyasova (who has always given Detroit trouble) and Luc Richard Mbah Moute. Rodney Stuckey is still out for the Pistons, joined of course by Richard Hamilton who is taking the world's most expensive vacation, mandatory or not.
The Bucks have lost three-in-a-row against Western Conference luminaries like the Clippers and the Warriors. I suppose I shouldn't gloat, the Pistons have done the same this season. But this road trip wasn't easy on a team who is missing their starring center (I meant to say "starring", FU PS). Ersan Ilyasova has filled in more than admirably, with 23 points and 13 rebounds Thursday, and Mbah Moute has handled a slide to power forward quite well, grabbing 19 rebounds on Thursday as well.
After starting the season injured, then given junk minutes upon his return, Corey Maggette is doing what he did last season-- making eerily-similar Carmelo Anthony look overpaid. In 12 games as a starter, Maggette is putting up 19 points on 50% shooting, 5 rebounds, a couple assists and six trips to the free throw line in 32 minutes per game. It's hard to argue that this isn't worth nearly half of Carmelo's salary.
While Maggette, Ilyasova and Mbah Moute are surging, Brandon Jennings is still having a rough time of his sophomore season. After missing 19 games, he's averaged 6 points on 25% shooting in the four games since. If he doesn't return to form tonight, a Bucks team without Bogut should be easy to contain.
How to Win This Game:
No alarms and no surprises: While Milwaukee is a battered team, they've got plenty of surprises ready to make Detroit's defense a comedy act. Earl Boykins loves to frustrate Pistons fans, and CDR wouldn't mind reminding Pistons fans about picking Walter Sharpe instead. Then there's that one Argentinean dude who was the Pre-Jonas man crush for everyone in Detroit. While Maggette, Ilyasova and Mbah Moute will require a central focus tonight, you can forget about these players only at your own peril.
Crash the Glass: Ilyasova and Mbah Moute combined for 32 rebounds against a Golden State team with David Lee and Andris Biedrins in the front court. Ben and Greg will need to box the hell out if we plan on winning the board war tonight. Milwaukee's big duo will be a tough match on the glass (a lot moreso than NJ), so Detroit needs to make a concerted effort to protect the boards this evening.
Miscellany: More ball movement, less isolayshauns. Watch the fouls on Maggette (foul trouble is one way for our bigs to lose the rebounding battle). Trade Hamilton, McGrady and Maxiell for Michael Redd and Garrett Temple. You know, just for old time's sake, right John Hammond? Hey, the first thing the Pistons did after you joined the team John was to trade for Rip. Do us a favor buddy! We gave you Delfino for nuttin!
Totally Unrelated Question of the Game:
Remember Allen Iverson? That was awesome.
Links for Hunters: