8:30 PM ET
Milwaukee: 24-28 (14-8 home)
Margin: -0.1 ppg (-1.9 last 25%)
Pistons: 26-21 (12-10 road)
Margin: -0.2 (-2.1 last 25%)
Milwaukee is playing without Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, which leaves them severely undermanned. They are also missing Luke Ridnour, which isn't devastating given that Ramon Sessions should be starting anyway, but hurts in terms of raw depth.
So what kind of team is Milwaukee without those three pieces? A euro style team without the three point shooting or tough rebounding. Between Sessions, Charlie Villanueva and Richard Jefferson, Milwaukee has enough offensive weapons to remain solvent, but the team now has no inside OR outside scoring presence.
Worse, coach Skiles is forced to give big minutes to Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Villanueva, which hurts on the defensive end. The Bucks will have to get a strong performance from Luc Etcetera to keep Prince from exploding on the offensive end.
Frankly, this sort of game is a must win for Detroit, who will need to feast on diminished squads in order to offset their tough schedule down the stretch.
Keys for Detroit:
Watch Gadzuric on the glass: He's exactly the sort of player who can eat a team alive if they aren't boxing out. After riding the pine, he had a solid game earlier this week, and should not be discounted.
Make them beat you from the perimeter: To add insult to injury, the Bucks traded Tyronn Lue to the Orlando Magic for Keith Bogans. Outside of Richard Jefferson, I'm comfortable forcing the Bucks outside.
Exploit mismatches: Whenever you have a team that is trying to integrate three new players, you are going to have defensive letdowns. The Pistons should absolutely take the ball to players like Villanueva and Gadzuric.
Question of the game:
Will the Pistons advertising their players? If we grant the notion that Joe D. is calling the rotation shots, it will be interesting to see if there are any anomalies in advance of the trade deadline.