First Round Preview: Bucks vs. Pistons


The Detroit Pistons beat the New York Knicks on Wednesday night to cement their place in the 2019 NBA Playoffs for a matchup against the East’s top regular season team– the Milwaukee Bucks. It should be a fun series between the Central Division rivals, where we will see a primetime matchup of star players and old fan favorite returning home for some revenge. With that said, let’s take a look at the series.

Series So Far This Year

The Bucks made easy work of the Pistons this year, finishing with a flawless 4-0 record. The games haven’t really been that close; Milwaukee won 3 of the 4 games by 10+ points. The one game that was close was the December 17th matchup in Detroit, where Milwaukee escaped with a 107-104 win off a missed last second three by Blake Griffin.

If there is one bright spot for the Pistons in this series, it’s that the Bucks haven’t had to face off against some of Detroit’s new faces. Old fan favorite Thon Maker and Wayne Ellington have yet to face Milwaukee. Bucks fans know how much of an impact Playoff Thon can be, and the Bucks always seem to have a hard time with laser three-point shooters like Ellington.

Key Matchup: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Blake Griffin


Image via The Associated Press

The Giannis and Griffin matchup will be an absolute treat to watch for an entire series. They both have been by far the best players on their respective teams, and since they both line up at power forward they should see quite a bit of each other. In terms of performance in the series during the regular season, Blake has been right there with Giannis.

Blake Griffin: 24.3 Points/ 8.3 Rebounds/ 7.0 Assists/ -15.1 plus-minus

Giannis Antetokounmpo: 20.8 Points/ 8.8 Rebounds/ 7.0 Assists/ +16.2 plus-minus

They’ve posted similar numbers, but Griffin has had the slight edge in PPG. The key in this series will be that both of these guys have to perform to their top level at all times. If one of them falters to the other, that will be a huge advantage for the other team and could swing the series either way.

Something to keep an eye on for this matchup will be if Griffin actually starts the series. According to James Edwards of The Athletic, Griffin has been dealing with knee soreness that caused him to miss their finale against the Knicks, and his status for the playoff opener is up in the air.

X-Factor: Wayne Ellington


Image via msn.com

Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson have all played really well against the Bucks this year. Obviously, it hasn’t been enough with the Bucks sweeping the regular season series. So they need more, and Ellington could be the biggest threat to the Bucks.

The Bucks have shown that they sometimes have problems with quick trigger three-point shooters like Ellington. He only played against the Bucks once this season (with Miami), but in that one game, he played eight minutes, shot 3/5 on threes for nine points. The Pistons play him a lot more than the Heat did and if he’s able to get that hot in double the minutes for four games, the Bucks could potentially have some problems.

Series Prediction: Bucks Win In 5

The Bucks have owned this series all year long and with Blake’s injury situation, we shouldn’t see anything change anytime soon. Detroit’s shooters could get hot one game and take one in Detroit, but that’s about it. This isn’t a surprising prediction considering the Bucks have been the best team all year and the Pistons barely made the playoffs, but the Bucks still have to take care of business.

All stats from Basketball Reference


About Dylan Kelly

Diehard Bucks, Packers, Cubs and Blackhawks fan from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Moved to Green Bay where I am now a proud Phoenix member at UW-Green Bay studying Finance.

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