What: Detroit Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center Milwaukee, WI
November 7, 2014: Pistons 98 Bucks 95
The Detroit Pistons have had three days do sit and ponder their 99-89 loss to Atlanta last Friday. The Pistons now stand at 3-10 on the season and will welcome the surprising Milwaukee Bucks into the Palace to try and get back on the winning side of things. The Pistons showed some positive signs against the Bucks in their last matchup and Detroit will have to do those same things again to repeat success. Let’s re-visit those factors.
1.) The Pistons shot 11/23 from deep in their first win over Milwaukee, with former Buck Brandon Jennings shooting 4/6, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 3/5, and Caron Butler making three of his four attempts from downtown. So if Detroit can repeat that shooting effort, then they can win this game. The Pistons average 92.2 points per game and they will need their shooting in this game if they want to put points up on the board. If Detroit shoots well from deep, they score, if they don’t then they have trouble. For example, in the loss to Atlanta, the Pistons were 4/21 from deep. Shooting is a must in this game.
2.) Jennings is questionable for this game due to a hyperextended left thumb injury he suffered in the loss to Atlanta. If Jennings is active, he needs to continue his strong play against his former team. Jennings had 15 points and six assists in the last game against the Bucks and this comes after he averaged 20.5 points and 10.3 assists in four games last season against his Milwaukee.
I’m going to say it again, when Jennings is playing well then the Pistons play well. Jennings is the key to this Pistons engine and when he’s bringing the energy and comes ready to play, that bodes well for Detroit. In the Pistons’ three wins this season, he averages 18.7 points, 5.3 assists, and he shoots 58.8% from deep. In losses, he averaged 15.2 points and shoots 31.9% from deep. You get my point.
3.) Josh Smith‘s play has been erratic this season. He’s averaging 12.8 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting a career worst 37.4% from the field. Those are well below his career averages of 15.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 45.7% shooting. Stan Van Gundy has tried to get Smith closer to the rim, and he has. However, Smith is having a tough time finishing around the hoop. He’s shooting 30.6% on shots from 5-9 feet and he’s 0/5 on shots from 10-14 feet. He’s even a below average 50.8% on shots less than five feet away. Smith’s performance has been disappointing to say the least, but he needs to pick it up for this team to be successful.
Prediction: Pistons 98 Bucks 95