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Off to Milwaukee

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (13-23) at Milwaukee Bucks (18-16)
  • Date: January 11, 2013
  • Time: 8:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After losing at home in overtime last Sunday, the Detroit Pistons will be looking to rebound on the road when they take on a Milwaukee Bucks squad that recently parted ways with their head coach in Scott Skiles.

The Bucks are coming off an impressive victory in Chicago on Wednesday night and will be looking to win their third game in a row tonight when they take on the Pistons.

These two teams met as recently as last month in the Palace of Auburn Hills, where Detroit took a big early double-digit lead in the contest but had to rally late to win the game thanks to a pair of free throws by Tayshaun Prince.

It’s worth noting that Detroit was able to race out to a big lead early in the contest because their defense completely stifled the Bucks’ offense. Indeed, Milwaukee struggled to execute in the half court and consequently missed a multitude of contested shots and also turned the ball over, which resulted into a few transition opportunities for the Pistons.

Brandon Jennings and company needed most of the first quarter to adjust their spacing and get away from the pick-and-pops and pick-and-rolls to instead running a few staggered screens for their guards which helped open up the lane for quick catch and drives and catch and shoots situations.

The Milwaukee coaching staff’s adjustments allowed them to take advantage of a Pistons defense that collapsed early and often into the paint by converting 10-of-23 shots from 3-point range. Indeed, the main catalyst for the Bucks’ offense was Monta Ellis, who produced an impressive 30 points and nine assists on 12-for-22 field goal shooting.

It stands to reason that Detroit will probably attempt to replicate the same defensive game plan and dare Milwaukee to once again make shots from deep.

On the other side of the ball, Brandon Knight and his teammates simply took no prisoners.

Whether it was in transition, the secondary break or in their half court sets, they simply attacked a Bucks defense that was routinely a step slow. Whether it was off the bounce or as a result of the pick-and-roll game, the Pistons made it their business to get inside the paint for easy shot opportunities. Per Hoopdata, Lawrence Frank’s unit attempted 34 shots directly at the rim on December 30th against Milwaukee, and produced 60 points in the paint.

It will be important for the Pistons to be relentless in their pursuit of attacking the paint once again in the same fashion, but also that they crash the boards and look for second shot attempts given that they snatched 16 offensive rebounds the last time around.

Divisional games tend to have a little extra something to them and one has to assume that will be the case tonight, but it would behoove Pistons who have been resting for the better part of the week to come out with more energy than their opponents if they wish to improve on their bad road record (3-14).

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