With the game on the line, Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to get wherever he wanted and do whatever he wanted. With the game on the line, the Pistons offense disintegrated into the all too familiar no-passing iso show.
It should be no surprise, then, that the Pistons blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and eventually fell to the Bucks in overtime 108-105 thanks to a dagger 3-pointer off of an offensive rebound by former Piston Khris Middleton.
The Greek Freak led the way with 28 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. But where he truly did his damage was the free-throw line.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer with 5:09 to play to put the Pistons up 10, a 28-point swing after falling way behind early. It looked like Detroit still had some fight left in them this season.
Then Giannis took over.
Antetokounmpo took nine free throws down the stretch as Milwaukee’s game plan became give Giannis the ball and get the hell out of the way. Unfortunately, Detroit had no answers.
Anytime Antetokounmpo drove down the lane a Detroit player made contact and put him on the line. The advantages of being an insane athlete with a ungodly wingspan.
The Bucks also got a solid assist from young Thon Maker whose evolution as the next Giannis seems to be right on schedule. Maker had 23 points including four 3-pointers, including a couple late in the shot clock that really stung.
He had no bigger basket, however, than his layup in traffic off an offensive rebound that sent the game into overtime. Middleton chipped in 25 points including four 3-pointers of his own.
The eight 3-pointers combined courtesy of Maker and Middleton were more than the entire Pistons team managed (7) on 30 attempts. Antetokounmpo managed more free-throw attempts by himself (21) than Detroit had as a team (16).
That is not a formula for winning basketball. The loss was Detroit’s ninth in its past 11 games. Detroit was led by the bench brigade of Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih who combined for 39 points on 17-of-24 shooting. The two combined for 1-of-2 shooting (both from Harris) after the Pistons were up 10 covering the last five minutes and overtime.