Deer Milwaukee: April 19, 2019

On this week’s episode of Deer Milwaukee, Cody Grant shared his thoughts on the first two games of the Bucks/Pistons first round series. Plus, he talked about why the Bucks have enough playoff experience to have a deep run. Also, Justin Garcia of WTMJ-AM 620 stopped by to talk all things Bucks including a possible second-round match-up against the Celtics and how this season has all come together for Milwaukee.

1:56 | Bucks/Pistons Games 1 & 2

8:33 | Do the Bucks have the playoff experience to make a deep run?

12:06 | Justin Garcia

Subscribe:

iTunes

Google Play

Stitcher

Bucks 120, Pistons 99: Last word

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks to a 2-0 series lead with a 120-99 win over the Detroit Pistons Wednesday.

Player of the game: Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe scored a playoff-career-high 27 points on a playoff-career-high 11 made field goals (11-19 FG). Often the gritty defender for Milwaukee, Bledsoe was a go-to guy offensively Wednesday night. He always seems to be the player to score a big bucket or make a huge steal when they need it the most.

For someone who struggled in the playoffs last season, it’s great to see how much he’s turned it around this year. “I feel like for us as a team, we have players that have been on the team for a while,” Bledsoe stated. “We went through adversity, seven games last year. We know what it takes now. We are focused, so we’re trying to block everything out and focus on us, just do our job.”

Play of the game: Giannis gets back at Thon

Maker may have made the defensive play of his career stuffing Giannis at the rim. However, his glory wouldn’t last long as Giannis attacked Maker the very next play.

The two are the best of friends. Giannis even refers to Maker as his younger brother, but in the playoffs, Giannis is all business. He spoke about the sequence after the game.

I’m just trying to do my job, try to be aggressive. Obviously, Thon is 7’1”, 7’2”, long, he can block shots, that’s one of the things he does great. I tried to get him a little deeper in the paint and I was able to dunk on him. But I was just trying to do my job and make plays.

The good: Star-power at Fiserv

Several Wisconsin athletes came out to support the Bucks. Current Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and David Bakhtiari were spotted in the crowd. Also, multiple members of the Milwaukee Brewers cheered on the Deer including last year’s NL MVP Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and Craig Counsell.

The not so good: 2nd quarter

Milwaukee failed to outscore Detroit in only one quarter, the second (32-20). The Pistons were clicking on all cylinders offensively and defensively. They knocked down four of their seven three-point attempts and forced the Bucks to commit seven turnovers leading to nine points.

“I thought Detroit came out in the second quarter and their energy exceeded ours,” Brook Lopez discussed. “At times, their focus exceeded ours.”

It was a tough stretch for Giannis as well. He was only able to score three points and had to come out early after picking up his third foul.

This was the first time in the series that the Pistons looked like they could compete with the Bucks. They were able to find multiple open looks from downtown on drive-and-kicks. It could be a good thing for Milwaukee. Maybe the second quarter will end up being a wake-up call that they can’t play down to the level of the competition, especially in the playoffs.

The weird: Pink panther

Giannis was decked out in pink as he entered the post-game press-conference media room humming the theme to ‘Pink Panther.’ I think it’s safe to say that this team is loose and loves to have fun.

Stat of the game: 31 minutes for Pat Connaughton

Connaughton scored a playoff-career-high 18 points (8-10 FG) and hauled in a playoff-career-high nine rebounds in his 31 minutes of play. He also added four blocks and was a spark plug off the bench for the second straight game.

“It’s great when you have a little bit of pop off your bench,” Mike Budenholzer said. “I love the pop he gives us defensively. How many blocked shots did he have? He covers a lot of ground. He gets some great contests even when he doesn’t make shots. I think he bothers shooters, and he’s really great chasing and staying with guys. He mixes in making some threes and he’s going to the basket and finishing. He and I were laughing that he’s turned into our best power forward with a jump hook. He’s doing a little bit of everything.”

Connaughton has been a huge boost off the bench, especially after the injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell. It will be interesting how Budenholzer figures out the minutes once the Bucks are completely healthy.

What they said:

Bledsoe on going on the road to Detroit

Giannis said it earlier. We took care of business like we should. Now we’re going on the road playing against a tough crowd and a tough team. We’re going to go in, practice, and see what we can do better. We’re looking forward to Game 3 in Detroit.

Casey on the Pistons’ performance tonight

I thought we set the tone in the second quarter. Against a team like Milwaukee you have to do it for a longer period of time. I think we extended it long enough. It showed in the third quarter. They scored 35 points to our 17. It was our Achilles heel tonight. Again, our challenge has been extending hard play, not getting bored with doing fundamentals, not getting bored kicking the ball out, doing those things offensively. Defensively, staying solid and making sure we execute what we need to do. That’s a discipline that has to be at the top of our charts going into next game and next year.

In case you missed it:

*The Bucks took a 2-0 series lead with Wednesday night’s 120-99 win over the Pistons. This is Milwaukee’s first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since it went up 2-0 over Charlotte in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2001.

*This is the first time since 1974, and the fourth time in franchise-playoff-history, that Milwaukee has won consecutive playoff games by 20+ points.

*As a team the Bucks shot 52.2% from the field while holding the Pistons to just 37.4% shooting. This marks the 20th occasion in Bucks playoff history where Milwaukee has shot 50% or better while holding its opponent to under 40% shooting. The Bucks are 19-1 in such games.

*The Bucks hauled in 54 rebounds on the night, marking their second consecutive playoff game hauling in 50+ rebounds. This is just the fourth time in franchise-playoff-history that the Bucks have hauled in 50+ rebounds in back-to-back games (most recently in 2001).

*Giannis tallied just his fourth-career playoff game with 25+ points and 10+ rebounds, as he finished the night with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

*Middleton logged his 11th career playoff game with 20+ points as he poured in 24 points and dished out a team-high eight assists.

What’s next?

Two down, two to go as the Bucks will travel to Detroit for game three Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm.

Pistons’ Blake Griffin could miss entire series against Bucks

If Game 1 was any indication of how the Bucks/Pistons series is going to go, Detroit needs a lot of help. The Pistons played without their star forward Blake Griffin on Sunday, and now may not have his services for the remainder of the first-round.

According to Vincent Goodwell of Yahoo Sports, Griffin is likely to miss the rest of the series.

Griffin is by far Detroit’s best player. He averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game during the regular season. Even with him in the lineup though, the Pistons aren’t expected to be able to compete with the talent of Milwaukee. However, Griffin would make a difference for the Pistons offensively.

A left-knee issue has bothered Griffin for the last several weeks and will be considered day-to-day going forward. There is no structural damage in the left-knee but it’s not clear if he’ll need some type of procedure in the offseason.

The disparity between the Bucks and Pistons is large. It looks like, at least for now, Milwaukee won’t be challenged until the second round. The Bucks haven’t gotten out of the first round of the playoffs since 2001.

Bucks 121, Pistons 86: Last word

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks dominated the Detroit Pistons in Game 1, winning 121 to 86.

Player of the game: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis led the Bucks, scoring 24 points while hauling in a playoff-career-high 17 rebounds. This was his second 20-point/15-rebound playoff game of his career. His 17 rebounds are the most by a Buck in a playoff game since Ervin Johnson grabbed 17 boards on 5/28/01. Giannis did it in only 23 minutes of play.

He had a ‘take no prisoners’ approach from the get-go attacking the rim with ruthless aggression. Giannis was even seen saying “I’m f****** unstoppable,” after a take to the hole. Earlier this season he was caught saying “I’m the f****** MVP,” after throwing down a dunk on the 76ers’ Ben Simmons. It’s hard to argue with either one of those statements.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer shared his thoughts on Giannis having another big performance.

Its what we have been seeing from Giannis all year. I think he has prepared himself. He is ready, and he expects a lot of himself. He delivers a lot of the time.

Play of the game: He took off from where?!

Dunks are still the most exciting play in basketball. Giannis threw down a slam that had the entire Fiserv Forum crowd on their feet Sunday night. He took off from near the free-throw line.

Michael Jordan got a 50 in the Dunk Contest from his free-throw line dunk, but you don’t normally see that in a game, a playoff game for that matter.

The good: The focus

Focus has been one constant for Milwaukee this entire season and they didn’t lack any in Game 1. From the starters to the bench, the Bucks were determined to make a statement that they are here to dominate.

We all knew coming into this series that the Pistons can’t match-up with the talent-level of the Bucks. However, upsets can happen if the superior team takes the inferior team lightly. It happened to Philadelphia, Toronto and Denver on Saturday as they all fell in game one of their respective series.

Detroit didn’t match Milwaukee’s intensity and it showed. If the Pistons can’t up their competitiveness, there will be more of the same moving forward.

Budenholzer talked about the focus of his group.

I think the focus of the group and the defensive effort stands out. It’s not easy when you don’t get to play the last couple of games, the last game, or you don’t have a lot of time between games. So, I think the guys have built up a lot of readiness or whatever word you want to use. It’s a good win for us. Now, we just have to be humble and get ready for the second game and take the focus into game two.

The not so good: Was there any?

It’s hard to find areas of the game that the Bucks weren’t good in. However, one thing that wasn’t so good was Andre Drummond’s flagrant foul on Giannis. As the two were going for a rebound, Drummond shoved Giannis to the ground. He was ejected after being assigned a Flagrant 2.

The weird: Bucks vs Thon Maker

Maker described playing against his former team as “Weird,” prior to tip-off. Maker had a rough showing in the game as well. He had the assignment of defending his good friend and NBA MVP candidate, Giannis.

Giannis spoke about playing against his former teammate.

Of course it feels weird. Thon is my little brother. I’ve known him since he came to the league. We’ve been friends. At the end of the day, I know he’s a competitor. I know he’s going to come out here and do whatever it takes to help his team win. That’s what he did tonight. At the end of the day, both of us aren’t going to take anything for granted.

Stat of the game: 28

28 minutes was the team-high for the Bucks on Sunday and it was held by Pat Connaughton. Who would’ve thought that Connaughton would lead the Bucks in minutes, and they would win a playoff game by 35 points?

Budenholzer has done a terrific job all season long managing the minutes of his players. It goes to show you the amount of depth this team has.

Middleton talked about the minutes he and Giannis played and Connaughton being the minutes leader.

If we win like that, for sure. We’ve had a lot of games this year where we haven’t played a lot of minutes. That just means the team is doing their job, as a group. Guys are coming in off the bench, starters are doing their job. If Pat’s leading us in minutes and we’re winning these ball games, I don’t think anyone is going to complain, especially Pat.

What they said:

Khris Middleton on the offensive contributions form the whole team

It’s great. I think it’s been like that for most of the year. I know I can take tough shots and play with an offense. Tonight, the guys were great. Giannis did a great job of starting us off right and being in an aggressive attack mode. Everybody else, we just made plays and knocked down shots.

Giannis on if they sent the message they wanted to send in Game 1

I think we did a great job setting the tone, playing hard playing together. The Pistons are a really good team, but we knew we needed to set the tone, and we were able to get a win tonight.

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey on the game not going the Pistons’ way

They’re a great team. We didn’t meet the level of physicality. Then we got some cheap fouls, but we have to get up to their speed of the game. They’re averaging 117 [points per game]. We were all over the map defensively. We didn’t get anything done. We have another level we have to get to with our intensity and physicality, because they’re coming through with balance. We have to get our level of competitiveness up to start the game, because you can’t let a great team like this get that many points early and expect to get back into it.

In case you missed it:

*The Bucks took a 1-0 series lead with Sunday’s wire-to-wire 121-86 victory over the Pistons. Milwaukee’s 35-point win marks the third-largest playoff win in franchise history.

*Milwaukee’s 70 first-half points are the second-most first half points in Bucks playoff history (77 in Game 3 of the 1970 Eastern Division Semifinals at PHI) and were the most in any playoff half by the Bucks since the second half of Game 3 of the 1987 First Round at Philadelphia (73 points)

*As a team the Bucks hauled in 54 rebounds, marking just their third playoff game with 50 + rebounds since the 2000-01 season.

*The Bucks had seven players score in double figures Sunday night, their most in a playoff game in the last 20 seasons.

What’s next?

The Bucks will look to take a 2-0 series lead in Game 2 against the Pistons on Wednesday.

Deer Milwaukee: April 12, 2019

On this week’s episode of Deer Milwaukee, Cody Grant looked back at the best moments of the Milwaukee Bucks’ regular season. Also, he gave his predictions for the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Plus, Bart Winkler of 105.7FM The Fan stopped by to share his thoughts on the Bucks’ chances in the playoffs, his least favorite Bucks’ takes and his favorite Bradley Center memory.

1:56 | Best moments of the regular season

5:01 | First round predictions

15:43 | Bart Winkler

Subscribe:

iTunes

Google Play

Stitcher