Undefeated Bucks look for more success in meeting with Pistons
The only remaining undefeated team in the NBA gets a chance to collect back-to-back victories against an opponent it has dominated in recent years.
The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Detroit Pistons on Monday before getting another crack at them on Wednesday. Milwaukee has won 13 of the last 14 regular-season meetings between the Central Division foes.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday scored 34 points apiece in the Bucks’ last outing, a 123-115 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. They were playing the tail end of a back-to-back after defeating the New York Knicks on Friday.
Antetokounmpo erupted in the second half after being limited to four first-half points.
“I just try to play within my strengths as much as I can. Obviously back-to-back, did not have the best half possible,” Antetokounmpo said. “I do not remember the last time I had four points in a half, but I think it comes with maturity, not trying to force anything, try to play the right way, find my teammate as much as I can, but at the end of the day I knew I had four points at the half and I wanted to come out aggressive for the team.”
Holiday also contributed 12 assists and four steals. He hadn’t scored more than 19 points in the previous four games.
“That’s just part of the beauty of Jrue — he’s so unselfish, he’s always thinking of others and we have to sometimes encourage him to be aggressive,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “(Saturday) he found that honey spot. I mean, he’s got 12 assists, too. It’s not just 34, but he’s got 12 assists and defensively I thought he was really good. This was a very, very kind of one of his special nights.”
Center Brook Lopez tossed in a season-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers.
Detroit’s lone victory against Milwaukee over the last four seasons came in January, but the Bucks still won the season series 3-1.
The Pistons will be playing the tail end of a back-to-back. They snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday by defeating defending champion Golden State 128-114.
Saddiq Bey led the way with 28 points, while Isaiah Stewart supplied a career-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. Cade Cunningham just missed a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
“We need this,” Stewart said in a postgame television interview. “There were some other games we felt we should have won but this is great momentum going to Milwaukee tomorrow.”
After allowing Atlanta to shoot nearly 57 percent on Friday, the Pistons limited the Warriors to 42.4 percent shooting.
“We’ll be able to generate points. Tonight, we generated points off our defense,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “We’re a growing team, we’re a learning team.”
Cunningham, the top pick of the 2021 draft, has gotten into a rhythm over the past three games. He’s averaging 28.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists during that span.
Detroit will likely be without rookie backup center Jalen Duren, who suffered an ankle injury when teammate Hamidou Diallo stepped on him during the fourth quarter.
–Field Level Media