Bucks vs. Pistons Preview:
After a performance on Saturday against the Charlotte Bobcats in which head coach Larry Drew apologized to the city for his team’s lack of energy and passion, the 2-10 Bucks look to right the ship against the 5–8 Detroit Pistons. The Charlotte loss brings the Bucks losing streak to eight, the team’s longest since 2007-2008 season. Luckily for the Bucks, the East is terrible this season, exemplified by the fact that only four teams possess a positive point differential. If the playoffs started today, the fourth seed in the east would be 6-7 Toronto (who, in case you didn’t notice, are below .500 for the season). The Detroit Pistons happen to reside in said Eastern Conference (how convenient) and have disappointed this season considering offseason acquisitions such as Josh Smith and a certain point guard that will be discussed later.
What To Watch For
Oh So Much Size
The Bucks have struggled against size in the frontcourt this season (See Aldridge, LaMarcus) and it won’t get any better Monday night. The Pistons start a gigantic frontcourt consisting of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. While the efficacy of this lineup can be debated (it hasn’t looked good thus far), what can’t be debated is the disadvantage that it presents against the Bucks. The Pistons have scored 51.6% of their points in the paint this season, highest in the league. If the Bucks can’t figure out a way to stymie the Pistons down low, it’s going to be a long night.
Battle of the Brandons
This is the first game the Bucks and Pistons have played since their “blockbuster” trade over the summer, when the Bucks exchanged Brandon Jennings for Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, and Viacheslav Kravtsov (no longer with team). So far it hasn’t appeared as if the trade has benefitted either team too much. The Pistons have to be disappointed with Jennings inefficient play (even for him, he’s shooting 36.4% on the season), while the Bucks haven’t had Knight on the floor for a majority of the season and Khris Middleton just looks like a player (and not a very good one at that). It will be interesting to see if either Jennings or Knight tries to “bring it” tonight against their former teams.
Three Point Shooting
One bright spot for the Bucks this season has been their three-point shooting. They currently rank in the top third in the league in three-point shooting percentage and it will be imperative that they hit those shots tonight. This is the case every night, but it is especially true for this game. The Bucks have a lack of players who can penetrate in this team that deficiency is only going to be magnified considering the Pistons length and shot blocking up front. If they don’t take, and subsequently make, a lot of threes this game there isn’t much hope for a win.
The game is at The Palace of Auburn Hills and will be shown on FSN Wisconsin at 6:30 CT.