The Milwaukee Bucks have repeatedly threatened to bury the Detroit Pistons forever.
But the pistons did not allow them.
A pair of free throws by George Hill gave the Bucks an 85-69 lead with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter. The Pistons, who bounced back after trailing 15 points in the first quarter and kept within walking distance for most of the night, had to run again.
The Pistons used a 25-13 boom to cut the gap to two in the middle of the fourth quarter, leveling the match just under a minute before a layup by Isiah Stewart. But the 3-pointer by Jrue Holiday clutch with 45 seconds left ended up being the dagger Milwaukee needed to pull off forever.
The Bucks defeated the Pistons in Milwaukee, 110-108, behind a 31-point night behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kid Cunningham, who continued his strong run on Monday, missed the elbow-jumping and triple-pointers game in the final 40 seconds that would have given Detroit a chance to win. However it was another big night for Cunningham, who led the Pistons with 27 points along with seven assists and six rebounds.
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Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 23 points, Jaden Evie had 19 points and had seven rebounds, and Isaiah Stewart added 11 points and had 11 rebounds. Hamidou Diallo also had a good night by scoring 13 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes from the bench. Holiday scored 25 points and provided 10 assists for Milwaukee, and Brooke Lopez added 24 points and nine rebounds.
Detroit managed to maintain a close margin of the opposing Bucks despite being on night two of a back-to-back game, defeating the Pistons Warriors at Little Caesars Arena on Sunday. They outperformed the Bucks, 31-22, in the recent period, making them pay 7-for-24.
Cunningham, Ivy starred at a heavy loss
Entering Monday, Cunningham was in the midst of a hot streak. In his previous three games, he averaged 28 points, nine rebounds, and 7.7 assists on 50% of total shots. His mid-range shot has become nearly automatic over the past week, and he’s had little trouble getting into his positions.
He continued his strong playing career against Milwaukee, scoring 19 points in an 8-for-13 shootout in the first and second quarters. Cunningham cooled off in the second half, posting only 3 shots out of 10. But he did have six assists in the last two innings, including feeding Stewart who tied the game at 105. His defeat at Detroit’s last possession was an unfortunate end to an overall solid night.
Ivy had some issues breaking through the Bucks’ strong defense, and his performance was a key display of natural talent that saw him steal the Pistons for fifth in last summer’s draft. His first step smashes defenders, but it’s what he does after his first step – the way he can slip through traffic and finish with both hands – that makes him dangerous.
Ivy scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half. Milwaukee was a great test, as Brook Lopez and Antetokounmpo are two of the best NBA edge guards. He second guessed a campaign against Lopez in the first quarter, and ended up turning the ball over on a save pass to Stewart. It wasn’t a sign of things to come, as he found his rhythm soon after.
Doreen is sitting, Noel starts season one
Galen Doreen looks set to miss some time after he straightened his left ankle in the final quarter of Sunday’s home game against the Golden State Warriors. He couldn’t put any weight on him because his teammates helped him get off the ground.
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As expected, he was ruled out ahead of Monday’s game due to a sprained left ankle. The Pistons then turned to Nirlance Noel, whom Duane Casey called an emergency option early in the season. With Marvin Bagley III waiting for his comeback, Monday definitely became an emergency.
Noel made his season debut at the end of the first quarter, scoring nearly 19 minutes as Stewart ran into a foul. It was a quiet night for the veteran center, as Noel finished with two points, four rebounds, a block and a steal. Noel will be pushed into a backup role until Dorn and/or Marvin Bagley III, who is nearing a reassessment date as he recovers from his MCL sprain, returns from injury.