It’s an NBA fan’s favorite time of year. The Playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
This series will have a clash of some big stars. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton and hopefully Blake Griffin will all be battling it out.
This series has a lot of meaning for both teams. This is an opportunity for the Bucks to start off their run as the team to beat in the East. Boasting the NBA’s best record this first playoff round is their time to show off and make a statement that they are here to stay. For the Pistons, aside from being a massive upset, if they are to beat the Bucks this changes the narrative of Blake Griffin’s career.
Offensively the Bucks will obviously be looking to see a lot of production from Antetokounmpo. According to NBA stat analyst Justin Kubatko, “Antetokounmpo will become the fourth player in NBA history to lead a 60-win team in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game.” Heading into the playoffs they will need all of that offensive prowess as they take on the Pistons and their big men.
For the Pistons they are going to need Griffin to get back to 100% as soon as possible. Griffin has been a huge addition to this team and a great help. Rebounding from injury last year Griffin has had a revitalizing year and has become the best player on the Pistons.
But there are more to these teams than just their stars.
The Pistons are going to have to rely on their bench to step up. Role players like Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway are going to need to play some career games if they want to make this series competitive.
The Bucks will be relying on Brook Lopez to assist in stopping Drummond. They will also be looking for consistent production from All-Star Khris Middleton and some good minutes from sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic.
The Pistons are going to have to really step up here if they want to succeed. Right now the Pistons rank 16th in the defensive ratings. They are going to need to find a way to slow down the Bucks’ high-powered offense which is first in points per game. That starts with shutting down Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe. So far, no team has been able to figure out the puzzle.
On the other hand, the Bucks just need to keep doing what they’ve been doing. They rank first in defense overall and have the potential Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo of course, leading the charge.
Most fans probably expect the Bucks to run away with this series. Though there is a chance that the Pistons put up a solid fight and extend their season.
In the end though, it is highly unlikely that this Pistons team has the depth or firepower to win a seven-game series against the Bucks. Expect the Bucks to win this series in five. If Griffin plays an outstanding game it’s entirely likely that they steal a game. But past that it would take the Bucks playing at their worst and the Pistons playing at their best.
Bucks in 5