The Milwaukee Bucks were determined to dominate the Detroit Pistons, and also determined to let the Pistons stay in the game much longer than they deserved. In the end, the Pistons faded and they lost 116-91.
The Bucks defense keyed in on Cade Cunningham early and he struggled mightily in the first half. The Bucks were dominating inside the paint and on the offensive boards. But they also shot just 2-of-18 from deep in the first half. It meant that a game that could have been a 25-point laugher early if Milwaukee was having even a decent shooting night was as close as six before an end-of-half three from Jrue Holiday.
All of the Pistons’ major flaws were exposed in this one. Cade couldn’t get anything going from midrange or elsewhere. The team was too short and too slow and the game was pretty well lost inside the paint.
Even when players like Isaiah Stewart was able to play solid defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo, the former MVP brought so much attention that the Bucks got offensive boards on five first-half Giannis misses and turned them into 10 second-chance points.
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 32 points. The Pistons were led by Saddiq Bey with 20.
Eventually, the 3s the Bucks were missing in the first half started dropping in the third quarter, and the Bucks were able to push the lead to 23 early in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Pistons had no answers.
Cade made a little run in the third, but collectively, Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Bojan Bogdanovic might have all had their worst games of the season. Together, they combined to shoot 13-of-36 for 31 points. The trio also only got to the line one time — on a Bojan made 3-pointer.
The Bucks lead eventually grew to 26 midway through the fourth after a Grayson Allen dunk and a Holiday floater. It just wasn’t the Pistons night and the Bucks eventually decided to stop messing around and put the game away. Then it grew again, getting as high as 33 points in garbage time.
When it was all said and done, the Pistons were minus-14 on the offensive glass and minus-26 in the paint. Detroit falls to 2-7 on the year, and the Bucks are the NBA’s lone undefeated team at 7-0.
The Pistons next play Friday, hosting the extremely good Cleveland Cavaliers. It doesn’t get any easier for a while, Pistons fans.