With Cade Cunningham back in the lineup, the Detroit Pistons look to get back on track with a win at home. Dwayne Casey and company have their sights set on breaking a win-less drought against the Bucks that dates back to early 2018.
The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks will also enter the night in a funk of their own, dropping their last three games and sitting 11th in the suddenly deep Eastern Conference. The Bucks will attempt to get back in the winners column without three of the starters from their championship team, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez have all be ruled out.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit or NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +5
To put it mildly, the Bucks have handled the Detroit Pistons with ease since handing the coaching reins to Mike Budenholzer. In three seasons as head coach, Budenholzer is yet to lose a game to the Pistons, with a 10-0 record and average winning margin of 15.1 points...yikes.
After an impressive opening night win versus the Brooklyn Nets, and a 3-1 start, the Bucks have struggled to keep a healthy team on court. In seven games, the Bucks have only fielded their starting five twice, with injuries to the aforementioned key contributors Holiday, Lopez and Middleton (health & safety protocols).
With all three of the above mentioned starters ruled out and the Bucks currently posting a bottom-10 net rating, the defending champs are vulnerable.
The absence of Holiday and Lopez significantly hinders the drop coverage style of defensive the Bucks typically implement. Lopez, in particular, seems to always relish playing against the Pistons, in three games last season he averaged 3.0 triples on shooting splits of 50/45/100, whilst also providing elite rim protection, holding Detroit to a suffocating 31.3% shooting at the cup.
However, while the Bucks may be significantly under-manned, they still have the best player in the world on their roster in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Anytime you have a player capable of this, your never out of a game:
The two-time MVP has continued to put up monster numbers, leading the team in points, rebounds, assists and blocks per game, simply put Giannis has been a one-man wrecking crew. As per Cleaning the Glass, the point differential between Giannis being on-court verses off-court is a ridiculous +39.6. In other words, when Giannis is on the court, the Bucks are good, when he sits they are bad, really bad.
In relation to the Pistons, all reports indicate that Detroit’s prized rookie, Cade Cunnigham, will suit up for his second career game. While there has been much discussion about Cunningham’s debut, theres no denying the Pistons simply look a better team with him on the court. With Jrue Holiday out, look for the former Oklahoma State product to exploit the smaller Bucks guards, Grayson Allen and George Hill, with his ability to shoot and create in the half court.
A player to keep your eye on for the Pistons (aside from Cade of course) is Jerami Grant. In his second year with the team, Grant has struggled in the first seven games. Not only are the scoring and efficiency numbers down, but Grant has struggled to show progress as a ball handler. In the recent game against the Nets, Grant often looked out of control with the ball, committing multiple offensive fouls and turning the ball over on 4 occasions. Last season, Grant played some of his best basketball against the Bucks, putting up 25ppg on great efficiency, hopefully he can use this game to springboard his play back to similar heights.
Other notes for tonights game include; Luka Garza, Isaiah Livers and Saben Lee being sent down to the teams G-League affiliate, Motor City Cruise. As a result, we should get increased minutes for Hayes and Stewart if the score is lopsided in any scenario.
Milwaukee Bucks (3-4)
George Hill, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Detroit Pistons (1-5)
Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart
Question of the Day
Which Piston player do you see getting first dibs on guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo?