Milwaukee’s high-powered offense faces a Central Division team it has dominated over the past two seasons.
The Bucks have won 11 straight against Detroit, including the postseason, and host the Pistons on Monday and Wednesday. Milwaukee leads the NBA in scoring (124.5 points per game) and 3-point shooting (43.9 percent).
During the 2018-19 season, the Bucks swept the four-game regular season series and a best-of-7, first-round playoff matchup. Milwaukee went 3-0 against the Pistons last season, with two-time league Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo averaging 32.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in those victories.
In the Bucks’ three wins this season, they have averaged 136 points. Antetokounmpo posted 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in their last game, a 126-96 trouncing of Chicago on Friday.
“Obviously I want to be aggressive, obviously I want to get in the paint,” Antetokounmpo said. “But at the end of the day, I think my teammates are open and I think in the long run it’s going to help me find my teammates and facilitate for the team when I have to.”
Milwaukee had five Bucks knock down at least three 3-pointers. Overall, it shot 22-for-45 beyond the arc.
“We feel like we’ve added a little more shooting depth, more guys who can make shots,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I just feel like Giannis is really doing a great job of kind of being a facilitator, a point guard, finding shooters and finding opportunities.”
Reserve Bryn Forbes delivered his best outing of the season, scoring 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Forbes signed a two-year contract as a free agent in November after spending his first four seasons in San Antonio.
“I think it took a lot just to kind of find my groove and where I fit in on this team,” Forbes said. “They’ve got confidence in me, and playing with guys like Giannis and Khris (Middleton), it makes my job easy.”
Detroit is coming off a similar two-game home set with Boston. The Pistons won the first meeting on Friday by three points, then dropped a two-point decision, 122-120, on Sunday.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum made the game-winning jumper with 2.9 seconds left. He combined with Jaylen Brown for 55 points as the Celtics shot 57 percent from the field. Detroit also had a strong offensive performance, making 48.2 percent of its field-goal attempts and committing only 10 turnovers.
“The turnover (total), I was really happy with that,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “The one-on-one defense, I want to see how many teams do a good job on Jaylen Brown and Tatum. They’re two of the most dynamic players I’ve seen in awhile. It seemed like they made every shot.”
Casey likes the idea of playing the same team twice in the same arena, a move made by the league to cut down travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“You don’t have the long travel, you don’t have the long days and weeks away,” he said. “You have an opportunity to prepare for a team twice, like a playoff setting, and it’s a great experience for us. And then at the competitive level, going against a team two times in a row, you kind of get a healthy dislike for them.”
–Field Level Media