Bucks Lead

Bucks Cruise to 2-0 Series Lead

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Early Scare Quickly Wiped Out in the Second Half

Game 2 of the Bucks-Pistons first-round playoff matchup was a different story compared to the laughable Game 1 beat down. For the second game in a row, the Bucks came out strong in the first quarter and took charge of the game. However this time, Detroit hung around just enough to take advantage of a lackluster second quarter and had a lead at the half.

At no point did it feel like the Pistons (sans Blake Griffin) would have enough to keep pace and hold off a far superior Milwaukee team. Not at the Fiserv Forum, where the fans were waiting for “that moment” to blow the roof off. Well, the Bucks treated them to a few of those throughout the night.

Even with the one-point deficit at the half, there was always a feeling in the air of inevitability. The Bucks would come out of the tunnel and take control in the second frame.

Before people had even gotten back to their seats in the third, Giannis went on a 7-0 run by himself. On three possessions, he finished on a lay-up, an uncontested three-pointer, and an offensive rebound put-back. From there the Bucks were off to the races. The Pistons stayed within striking distance for most of the second half, but the Bucks remained poised. They would finally go into cruise-control by the end of the game and win 120-99.

There were some interesting takeaways. Some are good, some not-so-good.

The Good:

Eric Bledsoe– “The Bledshow” was in full effect. He got it done on both ends. Not only was he connecting from deep and playing good defense, but he did what he arguably does best- drive to the rim and finish spectacularly. The way he can contort his body mid-air and somehow get off his lay-ups is out of this world.

Too often he settles for long jumpers. Hopefully, when reviewing game tape with Coach Bud, he can realize that he can take it to the rack almost at-will. Also, when he drives, it collapses the defense and opens up opportunities to kick it out for a three or lob one up for a trailing Giannis to hammer it down; it seems the Bucks’ offense has so many weapons it’s scary.

Pat Connaughton– “Planet Pat” came up huge. He played 30 minutes, shot 8 for 10 from the field with 18 points, nine rebounds, and four (FOUR!) blocks — not a bad night for a role player who’s coming off the bench. Coach Bud, to his credit, stuck with the off-season acquisition and rode him throughout the second half. He was just the spark the Bucks needed to reclaim control of the game.

The Bad:

Nikola Mirotic– “3-Kola” still hasn’t clicked in his stint with the Bucks. When he was first traded over from the Pelicans, it seemed like a perfect fit for Milwaukee’s “Let it Fly” offense. He didn’t find his rhythm and struggled to fit in after he was acquired, then quickly proceeded to go out with an injury. His first game back with the team was game one on Sunday. He had four points in garbage time and was 0-5 from three-point range.

Okay, it was his first game back, he needed a game to shake off the rust.

Well, Wednesday night did not inspire confidence that he was close to returning to form. He is someone to watch closely moving forward. The Bucks need him to figure it out because when he’s right, he’s a deadly weapon from beyond the arc. He’ll need to have a breakout game soon if he wants to be a contributor during this playoff run.

Brook Lopez- Outside a lucky banked-in three, this was not a great showing from “Splash Mountain.” He looked slow, and the Pistons bodied up on him from outside the arc. With them extending their defense on Brook, he was unable to create his shot and was not much of a factor. The scorer credited him with zero blocks on four personal fouls.

Overall a Great Team Win

Outside of a few small issues (e.g., Giannis committing a few charges), this was a perfect game to encapsulate why the Bucks won 60 games this season. They have a superstar in Giannis and a point guard in Bledsoe that can play like an All-Star on any night. They score a lot of points, but also play solid defense. There always seems to be someone who can come off the bench and be a spark. Whether it be Pat Connaughton, George Hill, Sterling Brown (I know, he’s currently a starter with Brogdon out, but you know what I mean), and (hopefully) Mirotic.

They’re well coached and on a mission. It’s going to take an extraordinary effort by an opposing team to knock Milwaukee out in the East. Fear the Deer, because Giannis is coming to a city near you.

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About Dan Parker

Born and raised in the greater Milwaukee area. Graduated from UW-Parkside with a B.S. in Sports and Fitness Management. Avid Wisconsin sports fan, currently residing just outside of Detroit.

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