It’s easy to come into Game 1 of a playoff series, amped up. Adrenaline is pumping, you feel superhuman. Carrying over that same energy is the difficult part. It also separates the good from the great. The Milwaukee Bucks asserted their dominance, again, over the Detroit Pistons, in a 120-99 victory.
The Marque Three of Giannis, Bledsoe, and Middleton played more minutes in Game 2 than they did Game 1, but were no less dominant. The trio combined for 77 points, 21 rebounds, and 18 assists. Milwaukee also got a huge lift off the bench by Pat Connaughton, who chipped in 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks. (On an efficient 8/10 shooting.) Starters did the heavy lifting with just enough from the bench to supplement their work.
I said in my last post, I didn’t expect the Pistons to put up much of a fight. I was wrong. Sometimes, after a thorough dismantling of a team, you tend to forget they are professionals too. The Pistons took a 59-58 lead into the half, after Head Coach Dwane Casey went to a small ball lineup and picked up the pace of play. (Pistons were toward the bottom of the league in pace of play this season.) It worked in getting them back into it, but ultimately Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer made the proper adjustments to guide his squad to the win.
The series shifts to Detroit for Game 3 on Saturday night. The crowd will be raucous, but the Bucks are adept at winning on the road. (27-14 road record this season. The best in the NBA.) The Bucks are also more than willing to destroy teams. The Pistons showed a bit more fight, but the Bucks dominated anyway. It seems as if this trend will continue.