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Bucks vs. Pistons preview: Winning starts with three point defense

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Detroit Pistons v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Here’s to hoping you have a lifesaver handy, as this Pistons ship is taking on water, and quickly. Following back-to-back-to-back blowouts, Detroit has found themselves four games behind the Miami Heat for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, with the season currently in the midst of a full-on tailspin (the third of it’s kind this year).

Oh yeah, the Charlotte Hornets have won five in a row, and are now only one game back from the lowly Pistons for the ninth spot in the East. Meaning I have to deal with these questions in my mentions.

Brutal.

If this free-fall is going to stop, tonight, at home, against the Milwaukee Bucks would be the perfect time, because frankly, my eyes can’t take it anymore.

Game Vitals

When: Wednesday, February 28, 7 p.m. EST

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI

Watch: FSN Detroit, NBA League Pass

Odds: Detroit -2

Analysis

The Milwaukee Bucks are 6-4 in their last ten games, having boasted the NBA’s fourth best defense during that stretch (102.3 D-Rating) and a top-10 net rating (+4.4). One element to their success may be the recent addition of Jabari Parker, who’s been back for the Bucks’ last nine games, returning from his second ACL tear of his young career.

The Bucks have been slowly ramping Parker back into the fold, as he’s coming off the bench and only averaging around 20 minutes per game, but he’s been extremely effective in limited time. Take a look at his Per 36 numbers so far this season.

Good on the Bucks for not rushing Parker back, and slowly integrating him back into the line-up. Let’s hope one particular President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach does the same for the Detroit Pistons.

If Detroit’s going to find a way to win this game, defending the three point line is a good starting point. The Pistons have been atrocious in that area, as they’re allowing opponents to hit 37.4% from deep on the season (ranking 28th), and 44.6% in their last three games (dead last). On the season Detroit have allowed their opponents to net 11.2 three pointers per game, and over these last three blowouts, they’re letting up 16.7 three pointers per game (50 points per game!). If this trend continues, by my math, they’ll end the season 28-54.

Luckily for Detroit, three point shooting is not Milwaukee’s strength. They’ve averaged 8.6 made three pointers per game over the course of the season (28th), converting on 35% (26th). If Milwaukee is able to shoot well above their average, it’ll be near impossible for Detroit to net a W.

Prediction

Someone is winning this game 104-100, so it might as well be Detroit.

Detroit 104, Milwaukee 100