After an impressive start, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (4-4) have fallen back down to earth. The Greek Freak was limited to a season-low 14 points in their 126-121 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Bucks’ third defeat in their last four games. Khris Middleton brilliantly stepped up with Giannis struggling as he poured in a career-high 43 points with 5 rebounds and 7 assists, but it wasn’t enough firepower for the Bucks, who continued to be without sixth man Greg Monroe.
Speaking of falling back down to earth, the Detroit Pistons (5-3) had their impressive three-game Western Conference win streak snapped emphatically by the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-93. Reggie Jackson continued his strong start with 18 points, seven boards, and five assists to lead the Pistons. However, leading scorer Tobias Harris went just 8-of-19 from the field for 18 points, while Andre Drummond was limited to 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Three keys to the game
Rest – After a three-game road trip on the west coast, the Pistons return back home after a couple days off. Perhaps this break is just what the Pistons need to recover from a surprising setback against the Lakers.
Reggie Jackson – Despite a strong start to the season, Jackson has once again been shopped around by Stan Van Gundy, this time in a possible deal for Eric Bledsoe. It remains to be seen how Jackson reacts, but if his promising play declines as a result, it’ll be bad news for a Pistons team that needs his offense.
Rebounding – Rebounding is always an issue for the Bucks, and is even more so these days without Monroe. They’ll be up against one of the best rebounding big men in Andre Drummond, someone who can almost single-handedly dominate them on the boards.
Matchup to watch
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Tobias Harris – The two forwards are obviously crucial players for their respective teams, who are hardly the most prolific offenses. They haven’t been at their best over their last couple of games, so they need to bounce back and start producing more to the level that they’re capable of.
Bucks projected starting lineup
PG – Malcolm Brogdon | SG – Tony Snell | SF – Khris Middleton | PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo | C – John Henson
Pistons projected starting lineup
PG – Reggie Jackson | SG – Avery Bradley | SF – Stanley Johnson | PF – Tobias Harris | C – Andre Drummond
Drummond had a surprisingly quiet game against the Lakers as he had just 10 points and 12 boards. But in his previous four games, he had averaged 13 points, 16 boards, and 3.3 steals. Look for Dre to have a bounce-back game on the boards against the Bucks’ flimsy frontcourt.
There’s hardly anything separating the two teams, who seem very evenly matched. That’s reflected in the spread, which sees the Pistons favored only by one point at home. With that being the case, it seems like the wise move is to back the home team in the Pistons, who will also have the benefit of an extra day to recover and prepare for this matchup.
The Pistons get back on track as they beat the Bucks, 102-98.
This game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit and Fox Sports Wisconsin. Tip-off at Little Caesar’s Arena will be at 7:00 pm Eastern.
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