Detroit Pistons: Day After Bucks game observations

Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Playing at the Milwaukee Bucks on the second game of a back to back, without two starters, was a tough assignment for the Detroit Pistons. They hung in there until the end. After sleeping on it, here are The Day After observations.

The Detroit Pistons made Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo have to play 36 minutes as they hung in there until the end. The flip side is, Antetokounmpo scored 43 points in that time.

The Pistons were close, but never that close, as Milwaukee won, 125-115, for its 12 straight (counting playoffs) win over Detroit. Here are the Excellent, the Good, the Not So Good and the Really Not So Good observations.

The Excellent

Derrick Rose: After a sluggish game against Boston, Rose really turned it around in 24 hours. He scored 24 points in 24 minutes, 38 seconds of action. He also had a team-high eight assists and, importantly, zero turnovers. Rose had been plagued by turnovers early in the season.

The Bucks, the No. 1 defense in the NBA last year, struggled to contain Rose.  He led Detroit with a +4. This was a good sign for the future.

Wayne Ellington: The reason you have a veteran like the 33-year-old Ellington is that you can simply dust him off, plug him into the lineup and know he will contribute.

After only playing in one game all season, Ellington started at shooting guard for the injured Josh Jackson. He did well, scoring 13 points in 24 minutes with four rebounds and two assists. He nailed three out of four three-point shots.

If Killian Hayes and Jackson are out for any length of time, Ellington might be keeping his starting spot for a bit.

The Good

Pistons competitiveness: The last lead Detroit had was 9-8 with seven minutes left in the first quarter. The Bucks controlled the game the rest of the way. Milwaukee held a 17-point lead after three quarters and Detroit could have packed it in at that point.

Instead, Detroit kept fighting. Sekou Doumbouya missed on a drive that would have cut the deficit to six points with two minutes left. Was Milwaukee really in danger of losing? Probably not, but it was good to see this Pistons team will not roll over.

Svi Mykhailiuk: For the second game in a row, the Ukrainian had a good night. He hit 3 of 5 three-point shot enroute to 13 points. He also had three assists and no turnovers and a zero on the plus/minus.

Boston and Milwaukee are considered two of the better defensive teams in the NBA, yet the Pistons had scored 120 points on Monday and now 110 against the Bucks.

Mykhailiuk’s outside shooting has helped Detroit with their sudden offensive firepower. It has helped open up the floor for Derrick Rose and Jerami Grant to take it to the hoop.

The Not So Good

Pistons rebounding: Detroit had been pretty good rebounding this season but they got annihilated on the boards this time. The Bucks outrebounded them by a 49-31 margin and 42-25 on defensive rebounds.

Rookie center Isiah Stewart had been gobbling up rebounds but struggled underneath against a big Bucks lineup. In 20 minutes he only had two rebounds, the same as backup guard Delon Wright got in 10 minutes.

Sekou Doumbouya: He was matched up against Giannis, and that did not go well. No well else could stop him, either, as Antetokounmpo scored 20 points in the second quarter and finished with 43.

Doumbouya did score 13 points in 23 points but he did it with an inefficient 4-for-13 from the floor. He was not bad, but he could have been better.

The Really Not So Good

Pistons injuries: Detroit started the game without Blake Griffin and Josh Jackson. Point guard Killian Hayes then left early in the second quarter with what could be a serious hip injury.

Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya are just coming back from ankle injuries. Okafor missed two games while Doumbouya played through it.

Detroit is not a team with that much depth to suffer a rash of injuries. Yeah, that gives the young players more playing time, but Milwaukee is not the kind of team you want inexperienced players getting a lot of minutes against.

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Considering the circumstances, the Pistons did not do badly. They were not get blown out, but they never really had a chance to win either. Wednesday’s rematch should be interesting. Detroit should have Griffin back for that one.