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Pistons vs. Bucks preview: Road to .500

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Detroit hosts Milwaukee in a chance to start its first regular season winning streak under Stan Van Gundy and inch closer to .500.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

BIG 3 4 LYFE RITE?!?!  In all seriousness, that lineup was only used for matchup purposes and will likely not start against Milwaukee's youth.  In other news, my under 15 high schoolers are currently 1-2 on their season, and look to get back to .500 in a 10am (6pm for you 'Muricans) contest sure to set the town on fire (or draw a crowd of 20 parents).  Coverage of that game can be found on Twitch (not really), with play-by-play from Mateen Cleaves (what a sad downfall) and color commentary from Kim English.

Game Vitals

Where: Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

When: 7.30 p.m. ET, Friday, November 7

Watch: FSD+

Exceptionally Detailed Analysis

Detroit hits the court Friday after a 98-95 victory over the New York Knicks.  Near 4QC aside, it was a solid performance, especially in areas which were otherwise a disappointment so far this season.  I'm talking about three-point shooting and rebounding, with KCP going 4-7 from deep and our trio of bigs each pulling down double digit rebounds (Monroe 18, Drummond 13, Smith 10).  However, after leading by 18 late in the third, the Pistons displayed their alarming propensity to collapse late in games, the only thing saving the victory was the fact that the Knicks ran out of time.  Josh Smith should be commended for his man defense on Carmelo Anthony, holding the perennial scoring champion contender to 5-21 from the field, and only four foul shots on the game.  However, his game was dampened by his own horrendous stat line of 2-17 from the field, despite 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.

The Pistons built their lead through solid shooting, going 11-23 from deep.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started hot, scoring 11 points in the first quarter alone, with 3-4 from deep.  Jonas Jerebko also hit three 3s for the game, as his 11 points off the bench proved a valuable source of offense to keep the second unit ticking over.  Brandon Jennings had an average game, collecting five dimes to go with 12 points, mostly from the free-throw line, as he shot 2-9 from the field, but 7-8 from the free throw line, the same as Greg Monroe, who put the Pistons on his back with 23 points and 18 rebounds.

The Milwaukee Pistons Leftovers Bucks enter the matchup on the back of a 95-86 loss vs. the Bulls.  All 11 of their players who checked in found the score-sheet, with a well balanced effort led by Giannis Antetokounmpo with 13, on a CAREER HIGH SIX FG MADE!!!  Outstanding stuff, Giannis.  Brandon Knight continued his Michael Carter-Williams-esque habit of stuffing stat sheets on bad teams with 10 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals.  Jabari Parker has been average so far, scoring 10 points per game to go along with seven rebounds, which is good, but with poor shooting percentages (.361, .250, .500).  Brandon Knight has averaged 18.4 points per game with 7.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists on efficient shooting (.408, .444, .897).  After not having his contract extended at the deadline, Knight has a chip on his shoulder to try and prove that he is worth eight figures a season.  However, the question will linger as to whether he will regress to his inefficient self, and whether his incapability of running an offense will haunt the team.

Players To Watch

Pistons: Jonas Jerebko

The question around Jerebko, the most beautiful human being ever to exist (besides myself), will always remain as to what his role is on this team, and whether he has a regular rotation spot.  My answers to those questions are, stretch-four hustle guy off the bench, and yes, around 15-20 minutes per game.  If he gets run in this game, which he should after showing his capabilities against New York, he can provide the spacing necessary in the front court for someone like Monroe or Drummond to operate down low.  My only Jonas gripe is his shot form. It is horribly slow, and as a child, you're taught quick release.  But it works for him, and he's gorgeous, so whatever.

Bucks: Brandon Jennings Knight

The former Pistons custodian has had a blazing start to the season, albeit somewhat at the detriment of his team's success.  You know those players who get their own, even though it doesn't help the team at all.  Players like Allen Iverson post Philadelphia, Michael Carter-Williams last season, and Carmelo Anthony any year he doesn't make the playoffs.  Knight, according to members of BrewHoop, still cannot run an offense, and I have been told by reliable sources that they would prefer we take him back (but they don't want Jennings so...).  Throw in Middleton and we'll give you Smith. Done deal.

Last Time We Met

Our last meeting with the Bucks was Jan. 22nd, the shameful night we experienced a 4QC to a team that was 7-33.  The Bucks would win the game 104-101, led by a certain Caron Butler's 30 points.  Brandon Jennings scored 30 for the Pistons, supplemented by 23 from Rodney Stuckey and 18 from the Moose.  At this point in the season, the Pistons were 17-25.  I distinctly remember watching this game on my laptop in my hotel room in Hawaii, and slamming my fist on the table, causing a firm glare of disapproval from my father.

Score Prediction

Our offense has improved the last couple of games.  If we can lock in on defense and not allow any complacency, I feel we can overpower a Bucks team relying on a notoriously inefficient spark plug Brandon Knight.

Pistons 108, Bucks 88

Lineup Prediction

I have no idea what to put here.  The Game Notes  indicate the Big 3 as probable starters, but we were told not to expect too much of that trio.

Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Monroe, Drummond

Bucks: Knight, Dudley, Parker, Ilyasova, Sanders

Injured/In Doubt

Pistons: Datome (hamstring), Martin (foot - no longer questionable), Meeks (back)

Bucks: Inglis (post surgery - ankle), O'Bryant (knee)

Community Question

Will Brandon Knight continue his firebrand of play so far this season against his former squad?