Detroit brought the energy and tenacity in Game 2 that you’d expect from every team in every game of the playoffs. There was also timely defense and shooting, hustle and urgency and all around quality basketball played by the same team that was down by 40-plus points in the first game of the series last Sunday night. This game was a positive response, to say the least.
Reggie Jackson scored six of his seven baskets in the first half. Luke Kennard hit all four of his treys for the game in the first half. Bruce Brown seemed to do no wrong, as he was a sniper on the defensive end. At the half, Detroit held a one point lead.
Though, there was still another half to be played, goshdarnit.
The Bucks woke up in the third quarter, scoring 35 to the Pistons 17. Giannis Antetokounmpo put his stamp on the game even before you could blink. Eric Bledsoe made big play after big play. Pat Connaughton did everything right. Khris Middleton was quietly lethal.
Unfortunately, Thon Maker, Glenn Robinson III and Wayne Ellington were cold the entire game for Detroit, shooting a combined 3-of-16 from the 3-point line. Glenn Robinson III’s misses were some of the brickiest shots I can remember from a wing player who is allowed to shoot as much as he is. Ish Smith helped speed up tempo and find the open man, but couldn’t buy a basket either, shooting 3-of-13. Andre Drummond had his moments, mostly in the first half, but wasn’t much to look at on the defensive end. He was often out of position to help contest at the rim and seemed out of gas as the game went on. Milwaukee’s breakneck pace had a lot to do with that. Andre had a team worst plus-minus of minus-32 for the game.
We know Milwaukee is the far superior team and it was probably obvious they went through the motions a bit during this game. They likely became bored. But the Pistons, even without Blake Griffin, are not bad enough to get run out of the building like they were in Game 1. The Pistons showed up and hopefully it wasn’t just a cameo.
The Pistons will give themselves a decent chance of winning Game 3 on Saturday if they come out with the same effort and urgency as they did tonight. Maybe more shots fall, maybe a couple of guys surprise and go off for big games. Maybe the Bucks collectively go cold and turn the ball over 15 times. Perhaps the home crowd will rev Detroit up quite a bit, and they can be within striking distance heading into the fourth quarter. Who knows what can happen.
And if the Pistons can take Game 3 — again, who knows what can happen.