Tonight the Pistons will be in Milwaukee to play the Bucks at 8:30pm EST. The Bucks are on one days rest following a loss to Boston on Thursday, while the Pistons are on 2 days rest after a win against the Sixers.
Previously against the Bucks.(Sorry I forgot this bit the last few. I don't know if anyone uses it but still lol.)
The Them: So the Bucks have been hugely disappointing to many people this season, although many of those people maybe should have actually watched the Bucks after the all star break last season but I digress. HOWEVA, I have watched them quite a bit, and they have legit figured some stuff out since the break this season. It has not translated into wins really, which means they have not figured out too much. But they look much better than they have most of the season. They have gone all out with the crazy and benched both MCW and Greg Monroe. Rolling with a starting lineup of OJ Mayo, Kris Middleton, Giannis, Jabari Parker, and Miles Plumlee (I think Miles is the one on the Bucks). Literally no real PG on the floor, which has resulted in seeing Giannis start to morph into his final form as he is essentially playing PG for the Bucks. A 7 foot tall PG. Regardless, this lineup has actually been pretty good, and once again, even beyond lineups and stuff. The Bucks just seem to be playing better. They have been whipping around smart passes, playing defense, and actually been pretty fun lately. The early season kind of struggles of Khris Middleton are long gone, and he is scoring, passing, defending, and shooting at a really high level. And by the way, anyone who calls him a "Good 3 and D player" clearly has never watched the Bucks. Middleton is the Bucks best player. Giannis still can't really shoot, but man he can score inside, rebound, and defend. Jabari Parker doesn't shoot 3s, but he is a pretty effective scorer, OJ Mayo is honestly just not very good, and Miles Plumlee is tall and a decent athlete. Off the bench Greg Monroe is still a rock of offense for the Bucks, and is probably still their most consistent source of buckets when the going gets tough. MCW has been talked about a lot, but he can still do some good stuff when he gets in the paint. (even if that is all he does well) They have a couple young dudes who fill out the rotation, and they may or may not be any good.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Length: The Pistons are a pretty long team, but the Bucks are another beast. They have played better defense lately as well. The Pistons ball handlers will have to be on their games to make sure they throw good passes and take care of the ball.
Andre vs. Everyone: A big part of this is Andre vs. Moose. But because Monroe is coming off the bench it can't be exclusively that. The Bucks have a ton of length (as stated) but other than Monroe, they don't figure to really have anyone who is strong enough to do, well, anything to stop Andre. He should have a chance at a really big game, so hopefully he comes through.
Baynes vs. Monroe: Since Monroe is coming off the bench now, Baynes will probably have to guard Monroe for most of the time Baynes is on the floor. Baynes has largely gotten roasted by offensively talented centers this season. (including Monroe) So Monroe will probably have a chance for a bunch of easy buckets. Baynes going to have to step up.
KCP vs. Defense: KCP can struggle to guard guys who are a lot bigger/taller than he is. Khris Middleton is a lot taller than he is. And unfortunately, with Giannis and Parker flanking Middleton on the wings, there is not a better matchup for him to unleash his defensive prowess on, and Morris will be busy with Giannis all night. So it is up to KCP to dig deep and find something he can do to keep Middleton from feasting too much on easy post ups. (He loves to post up smaller dudes and he is very good at it.)
Pistons vs. Keeping it up: The Pistons have played really good basketball the past 3 games, and I think they will probably keep it up the rest of the season, but if they keep playing that well they should be able to win a lot of games down the stretch. Still, they can't let up, because if they do then the Pistons become a much worse team.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre is destroying all of the skinny length of the Bucks.
Pistons ball handlers are making good passes and not turning the ball over.
Andre serves as a excellent deterrent in the paint to the NBAs top paint scoring team.
Run for the hills if:
Monroe scores 10 points on 5/5 shooting in his first stint against Baynes.
Pistons ball handlers are throwing lazy passes.
Khris Middleton is posting up KCP and KCP can't really stop it.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre does have a huge game.
The Morris/Harris combo continues to look excllent.
Middleton gives KCP fits but KCP manages to make enough nice plays to still be an effective defender.
Pistons win a close and hugely entertaining game with Reggie and Andre proving to be too much down the stretch.
Should be fun, the Bucks have played much better and the Pistons seemed to have locked in as well.
What do you think? Think KCP will find a way to defend Middleton? Let me know! We all get smarter!