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The Milwaukee Bucks boasted the best record in the NBA during the regular season, securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. A path is clear for the Bucks to have home-court advantage in the NBA Finals if they were able to beat their three opponents in the East.
However, Milwaukee have not reached the Finals since 1974 in the days of the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Giannis Antetokounmpo has become the new superstar for the club and has been outstanding.
The 24-year-old is the leading contender to be named MVP of the league due his brilliance over the course of the campaign. Giannis has been the foundation of the Bucks’ first 60-win campaign since 1981.
Mike Budenholzer’s men were the surprise package of the season. Before the start of the season they would have been considered behind the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. They’ve not advanced beyond the first round of the post-season since 2001, but will be eyeing their chances against the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons were the last side into the post-season in the Eastern Conference. A four-game losing streak in April knocked them down the seedings, but back-to-back victories over the New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies ensured that they would be competing.
Unfortunately now they’re faced with the prospect of Giannis and the Bucks, who, will be looking to make a statement in the first round to justify their their place as the top seed.
The Bucks produced a brilliant effort this term to finish top of the Eastern Conference. LeBron James’ departure and the resulting decline of the Cleveland Cavaliers left an opening for a new team to take the crown. The Celtics and the 76ers were the perceived favourites for the crown given the quality on their rosters.
However, Giannis and the Bucks have engineered their way to 60 wins, enjoying a run of dominance that has not been associated with the franchise for a long time. They began the campaign with a run of seven wins on the bounce. November was their worst month of the season where the Bucks were pegged back to 15-6. From that point onwards Milwaukee would drop only 16 games for the rest of the season.
Their consistency on the court was outstanding, with Giannis being the foundation of their success with his MVP-calibre term. LeBron’s departure left a superstar void in the Eastern Conference, but the 24-year-old is on the way to filling it. He has taken his game to a new level, becoming an imperious player at both ends of the court. Only two players in the NBA averaged more points per game than Giannis, while he also finished in the top 10 in rebounds. He has allowed his team-mates to play off him, drawing the attention of the Bucks’ opponents.
Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe have all thrived and will need to continue their form into the post-season. A dominant playoff run would elevate Giannis’ reputation as one of the modern-day greats a potential heir to the throne of LeBron.
Dwane Casey had a solid first campaign as Pistons head coach, guiding the club back into the playoffs with a 41-41 record. Their performances have been as their record suggests – an average team, although that could prove to be a roadblock to the Bucks in the first round. Detroit have talent in the defensive third in the court that could disrupt Giannis.
Only six teams in the NBA allowed fewer points than the Pistons over the course of the campaign. They’ve needed to be a stout defensive unit to their struggles on offense where they ranked in the bottom third in the league. Detroit will have to play the series on their terms otherwise the Bucks will be able to cruise to a comfortable win.
Griffin has been the leader that the Pistons required to get back in contention. He was on form from the off and has been extremely productive, averaging 24.5 points per game this term. Detroit will need a special effort from him, facing the leading offense in the NBA. The pressure will be on Griffin along with the club’s other stars to rise to the occasion.
Andre Drummond led the league in rebounds for the third time in his career. The 26-year-old was a huge part of the defensive effort due to his strength and positioning skills around the net. However, he also produced the best scoring campaign of his career, supporting Griffin. Reggie Jackson will need to be efficient with ball in hand, ensuring that the Pistons maximise their scoring opportunities. However, even all that might not be enough to stop Milwaukee.
The Bucks swept Detroit in their four-game series this term. Budenholzer’s men eased to victory in three of the four contests, while the other was a three-point triumph on the road. Milwaukee were able to control the last game between the sides to record a 10-point win in Detroit.
Giannis notched 21 points, while the rest of the Bucks’ starting line-up also fired. Jackson had the best day overall with a 25-point outing for the Pistons. However, Casey’s men could not challenge their opponents throughout the term and expect that theme to continue in the post-season.
The Bucks should have no problem brushing aside the Pistons in the first round. The only concern about the club would be their lack of playoff experience, although Giannis is the great equaliser given his quality on the court. Milwaukee are expected be without Brogdon for the contest, but they have enough quality in depth to replace the point guard.
Giannis will be desperate to make a statement from the off to put his team in control of the series. Back the Bucks to win the opening game on home soil at odds of -1200 with TopBet, while take Budenholzer’s side to dominate the series by a 4-0 margin and advance to the Conference Semi-Finals at -4000 with BetOnline.
Milwaukee Bucks To Beat Detroit Pistons Game One
Sunday 14th April 2019 19:00 EST (Monday 15th April 2019 00:00 BST)
Milwaukee Bucks To Beat Detroit Pistons Playoff Series
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