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Pistons at Bucks preview: Life without Killian Hayes begins — against Giannis

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The Pistons look to avenge Monday’s loss to Milwaukee but do so shorthanded.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons look for their second win of the season in their second consecutive game against the Milwaukee Bucks. And they will do so without rookie point guard Killian Hayes, who suffered a labral tear in Monday’s loss. After allowing Giannis Antetounkoumpo to score 30 points in the first half and 42 for the game. Insult meet injury meet misery.

The Bucks are just 4-3 to begin the early season, but they showed on Monday they are still a formidable opponent. Milwaukee’s first-ranked offense presents a challenge for Detroit’s struggling defense and quickly depleting roster.

Game Vitals

When: Wednesday, January 6, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Fiserv Arena, Milwaukee, WI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Game Analysis

We will get our first look at how Detroit’s rotations are likely to play out without Hayes. Delon Wright likely shifts to the starting point guard position to keep Derrick Rose’s spot on the bench, which could mean additional minutes for Svi Mykhailiuk and Saddiq Bey at the two.

The Pistons’ defense will need to improve from Monday’s performance if they hope to upset the Bucks. Milwaukee scored 121.7 points per 100 possessions two nights ago, a number that surpasses their first-ranked offense’s average output.

With a new rotation, it may prove too difficult to overcome but there were glimpses of competence in Monday’s game.

Detroit’s newly-acquired length provided some resistance with Sekou Doumbouya, Jerami Grant, and Bey leading the way. Doumbouya even closed Monday’s game while it was still in reach, and did so as a small-ball center. Getting Sekou additional minutes at the five may prove difficult with a depleted backcourt, but it’s worth attempting given how good he looked in that role on Monday.

If Josh Jackson sits tonight, that may require employing the services of two-way point guard Saben Lee to fill the backcourt. It will certainly take some extra playing time of the roster’s youth, regardless.

Just how Dwane Casey uses his roster while injuries leave the rotation in flux will be a key thing to watch in tonight’s game. Detroit winning would be surprising, but this season’s focus clearly is on development and situations like the one that tonight presents is a prime opportunity to see what you’ve got.

Projected Starters

Detroit Pistons (1-6)
Delon Wright, Josh Jackson (questionable), Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee

Milwaukee Bucks (4-3):
Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez

Stray Thoughts

  • Isaiah Stewart provided some nice defensive minutes on Monday, will he get even more playing time tonight?
  • Assuming Josh Jackson isn’t ready to go tonight, will Casey go with someone other than Wayne Ellington in his place?