The 7-4 Milwaukee Bucks are in Detroit for an Eastern Conference meeting with the 2-8 Pistons. The Pistons were hoping to see progress under Dwane Casey, but their record doesn’t indicate a step forward. They finished last season with a record of 20-46 for 13th in the NBA. Only the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers were worse than the Pistons in the standings.
Blake Griffin, who the Pistons are paying a lot of money to, played in only 18 games because of an injury. He scored the most points of his career, per game, in his first full season with the Pistons in 2018-19. Griffin notched 24.5 points per game, and he was playing with a lot of energy and heart.
How much of that was because Griffin wanted to show to his ex-employer that he was still a great player? I’d say it had a lot to do with his effort. He was playing through an injury in the first-round of the playoffs, despite the fact that the Pistons were not going to win that series against the Bucks. The Pistons were swept, but Griffin gave it his all.
This season, though, Griffin is playing like he needs a change in scenery. It could be the injury that’s still bothering him, but Griffin hasn’t played up to his full potential thus far. He has scored 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Along with his drop in production, the Pistons might be stuck with his hefty contract.
If the Pistons can find a team to take him off their hands, they’d gladly sign the papers and get Griffin out of town. Regarding this Pistons team, while they might be 2-8, at least they’ve been competitive in most of their games. The wins will begin to fall if they keep plugging away, though it won’t be easy against the Bucks tonight.
The Bucks have already beaten the Pistons twice this season, 125-115 and 130-115 in Milwaukee a week ago. They lost straight up as 5.5 favorites against the Jazz in their next outing, but bounced back for a 100-90 win over the Cavaliers and 121-99 win over the Orlando Magic.
The Bucks have to keep their composure and not look past the Pistons on Wednesday. It would be easy to do against a team they just beat twice. Head below for our free Bucks vs. Pistons pick on January 13, 2021.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons NBA Betting Odds:
Bucks vs. Pistons Prediction:
The Bucks lead the NBA with 121.9 points per game, though they’re not currently ahead in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with the Indiana Pacers at 7-4, while the Philadelphia 76ers are 8-4, and the Boston Celtics are 7-3. The Bucks are the favorite to win the Eastern Conference, but it might be more difficult than they anticipate. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Bucks. Without Giannis, the Bucks are a very ordinary team.
Khris Middleton is a decent player, but I think the Bucks really need another playmaker to get over the hump to beat the likes of the Lakers and Clippers. There are no excuses when it comes to the Eastern Conference, though. Failing to get to the NBA Finals might shake things up in the offseason for the Bucks. Giannis will be demanding help if that’s the case. As bad as the Pistons have been at 2-8, they’ve been relatively competitive in games against better teams.
They forced overtime recently against the Phoenix Suns, though ended up losing by a score of 110-105 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Also note that the Pistons played the Atlanta Hawks relatively close in a 128-120 loss, and a three-point and two-point loss against the Celtics. The Pistons have a score differential of -6.6 points. Considering they’ve lost eight games and only won two, that’s not the worst differential, or at least what you’d expect.
It indicates that they’ve been hanging around in games and putting forth some effort. Blake Griffin just has to get his head together and the wins will come for the Pistons. The Pistons played the Bucks relatively tough in a 125-115 and 130-115 loss. This time, the Pistons get the Bucks at home in Detroit.
I can’t see the Bucks being particularly excited and motivated in this one. Conversely, I could see the opposite in the Pistons. The Bucks have the clear talent edge, but the Pistons can keep this close if they want to be at Little Caesars Arena tonight. Look for the Bucks to win, with the Pistons keeping this game within double digits in a game where the Bucks don’t play up to their potential.