Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons
|Date & Time||Friday April 12, 2019, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Start your 7-day free trial today!|
The Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons meet in the first round of the 2019 NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. Here is a series breakdown position by position.
Point Guard - Reggie Jackson is a player who probably doesn’t get enough credit, but he’s also a bit streaky and can make boneheaded decisions at times. Jackson is really good when he’s on, but he disappears a bit too much for my taste. Eric Bledsoe is having one of the best seasons of his career and is showing he can be a starting point guard on a winning team. Bledsoe is the one guy who some seem to forget to mention when discussing the Bucks success. He’s been highly impressive.
Shooting Guard - The Bucks have tried various different starting guards due to the injury to Malcolm Brogdon, and he’s not expected to be back until the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Tony Snell adds even more length and makes the Bucks scarier defensively, but he doesn’t bring what Brogdon brings to the table. Wayne Ellington is one of the better outside shooters in the league and really opens the floor up when he’s coming off those screens. Ellington can be a real difference maker for the Pistons in this series.
Small Forward - Khris Middleton has been money all season and has a chance to prove he’s capable of being the No. 2 on a championship caliber team. At just 27 years old and with free agency coming up in 2020, Middleton has a chance to make himself a ton of money these next several weeks. Bruce Brown starts at the position for the Pistons, but he splits considerable time with various other players and his lack of experience on the big stage could be an issue in this series.
Power Forward - Blake Griffin and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the battle to watch in this series and is probably one of the more intriguing one-on-one matchups in the entire first round. Griffin has a chance to prove he can still be the driving force on a playoff team, while Antetokounmpo is coming for the title of best in the league. Right now, nobody is stopping the Greek Freak, and it’s why he’s going to win the MVP.
Center - Andre Drummond will be key in this series due to his rebounding and physicality, but he’s got to make his free throws or he could have a hard time staying on the court. Brook Lopez went from being a cool center who bangs in the post to somebody who shoots 36.5 percent from three on 6.3 attempts. Drummond is not prepared to go out into the deep waters and defend the perimeter. Lopez is a matchup nightmare for the Pistons.
Bench - The Pistons have a respectable bench with Langston Galloway, Isa Smith, Luke Kennard, Thon Maker and Zaza Pachulia. There’s a combination of shooting, experience and physicality, and they’ll all be needed to make this a series. Unfortunately, the Bucks are extremely deep with George Hill, D.J. Wilson, Sterling Brown, Ersan Ilyasova, Tim Frazier and Snell all playing meaningful minutes this season. It’s the reason why the Bucks have been the most consistent team in the league and there’s been little drop off when Antetokounmpo isn’t on the court.
Series Prediction: Bucks in 5. While the Bucks won all four meetings against the Pistons, they haven’t played since January 29, and it’s fair to say Detroit is a better team than it was months ago. The Pistons have a reliable post presence that can keep them in games and they have a proven winning coach in Dwane Casey who can figure something out. The Bucks are also banged up and haven’t been the same team without Brogdon. I’ll give the Pistons a game.