It was a game that Bucks players and Bucks fans desperately hoped for, as the hometown team was able to dismantle the visiting Detroit Pistons Monday night at the Bradley Center, 102-89.
The Bucks defense was easily the biggest story of the night. Prior to this game, the Bucks had gone 20 straight games with the opposing team putting up over 100 points.
Milwaukee took advantage of a stagnant Pistons defense and exploded for a 16-4 run early on in the second quarter, granting them an early double-digit lead. Meanwhile, the Bucks’ defense was locked in during this same stretch. Sharp rotations around the perimeter made it difficult for the Pistons to move the ball around, along with getting up a quality shot.
The Bucks leapt ahead in the second quarter, and it was not thanks to players you would think. Michael Beasley turned back the clock and showed why he was the No. 2 pick in the draft years ago, contributing with 16 first half points. Meanwhile, the Pistons held Giannis Antetokounmpo scoreless for the first 24 minutes. At the break, Milwaukee held a 17 point lead.
The Bucks would not step off the gas pedal at all throughout the third quarter. Their lead would fluctuate around the 20 point mark through the entire period, eventually making it to the fourth with a 16 point advantage. They would hold that lead for the remainder of the night, not letting the Pistons get even within single digits.
Michael Beasley led the way for the Bucks, pouring in 23 points. Greg Monroe came off the bench with a solid 25 points coupled with 13 boards.
Pistons Head Coach Stan Van Gundy pinpointed his team’s struggle with those two Bucks players as the main reason for defeat.
“Well Beasley’s just a good scorer. I thought he hit some tough pull-up fadeaways where we had a hand up,” Van Gundy said. “A couple times he beat us on the dribble and we weren’t there.”
As for Monroe, he echoed similar statements.
“Greg’s a good scorer and we just let him get to his strengths all night,” said Van Gundy. “We had three different guys on him, none of them defended him well at all.”
Michael Beasley credited his teammates for his success.
“It was my teammates looking for me,” said Beasley. “I was being aggressive, attacking the seams and getting the ball to move side-to-side. We were just playing basketball the right way.”
Tony Snell made some noise with 16 points, going 4-of-8 on 3-pointers.
For Detroit, Marcus Morris highlighted the stat sheet with a game high 26 points. Andre Drummond registered a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bucks will not return to Milwaukee until after the upcoming All-Star break. They will travel to Brooklyn on Wednesday for their final game before the festivities. They return to action on February 24 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center against the Utah Jazz.