You know how ever since the Pistons have wrapped up homecourt advantage they've done things like play the starters for only half the game? And how guys like Antonio McDyess, Tony Delk and Lindsey Hunter are suddenly getting 20-plus minutes of burn? Well, Monday was kind of like that, but even worse.
The Pistons, who already wrapped up homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, played Monday's game like it was the second-to-last game of the exhibition season. The Bucks, who are still jockeying for a playoff seed, played Monday's game like it was an extension of the postseason. The results were predictable: Milwaukee creamed the Boys in Blue by 20 points: 113-93.
Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace weren't even active, and nor was Hunter. Instead, all three rookies -- Jason Maxiell, Alex Acker and Amir Johnson -- all saw significant action in the same game for the first time since October, and all three looked good. Maxiell scored 11 points with 12 boards in 27 minutes, while Acker scored four points with four assists and four boards in 18 minutes.
Johnson, though, was particularly impressive: he scored 18 points in 18 minutes by going 6-6 from the field, 2-2 from three-point land and 4-4 from the line. Just for good measure, he added a couple of boards and two assists. Not bad for an 18-year-old? Heck, that's not bad for veteran All-Star. This kid is some kind of athlete, and it's exciting to think about what he might become in a couple of years.
Dale Davis and Mo Evans started in place of Rasheed and Rip, respectively. Evans struggled from the field, though, shooting just 1-8, needing four free-throws to finish with six points. Carlos Delfino, on the other hand, made the most of his 29 minutes of action, tying Johnson for the team lead with 18 points (7-13) while chipping in five boards, two assists and three steals.
As entertained as Pistons fans may be to see some of these youngsters get some rare extended action, those paying fans in Milwaukee may feel a little jilted for being treated to little more than a glorified scrimmage. Here's the view from the always hilarious Milwaukee Bucks Diary:
The Bucks really took it to the "Pistons" tonight. The fans at the Bradley have to admit they got their $100.00's worth too (or did they charge Exhibition Season prices?). Some of the names on the Detroit roster the BC faithful may have even remembered. For instance, the Pistons were led in scoring by the Palace at Auburn Hills janitor, Hong Kong Phooey, in assists by the team's Assistant Regional Manager or Assistant to the Regional Manager, the British born Gareth Keenan, and in rebounding by the team's aging superstar from Carver High: Coolidge. All that wasn't enough. The Bucks dropped the Pistons 113-93.
Ah well, a win is a win, Bucks fans, I'm sure you'll feel better about the whole situation when you look at the standings Tuesday morning.Even if that means the Bucks now need to re-work this possible playoff ticket sales script, which I think otherwise would have been a goldmine... If the Pistons pull this same type of up-is-down and left-is-right substitution patterns on Wednesday, they'll likely drop their third game of the season to the spunky Washington Wizards. It'll be interesting to see if the Pistons' brass decide to go that route and give such a psychological edge to a potential second-round opponent.
Bucks 113, Pistons 93 boxscore [ESPN]
Bucks Match Up Well With Replacement Pistons [Milwaukee Bucks Diary]
Bucks Playoff Slogan: The Dancefloor has a Backdoor! [Milwaukee Bucks Diary]