Antetokounmpo, Bucks roll past Pistons in series opener

Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer yells instructions to players during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday

Mike Budenholzer was recognized by his peers for the job he did with the Bucks this season. More

"It's a great experience for us to come in and play against a great team like Milwaukee".

After two of the other contenders in the East, the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, opened up their first-round series by losing at home to lower seeded-teams on Saturday, the Bucks made sure there would be no upset taking place at Fiserv Forum. Reggie Jackson added 12 points and five assists.

Antetokounmpo struggled at the foul line, making only 5 of 12 attempts, but was 9 for 17 from the field and 1 of 5 from 3-point range. Detroit played without forward Blake Griffin, who sat out with a left knee injury.

If Blake Griffin's absence wasn't a warning that the Pistons were in big trouble in this game, Dwane Casey's decision on the defensive end mid-way through the first quarter certainly was.

Detroit: Casey said Griffin was "day-to-day but too sore to go" in Game 1.

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The Bucks swept the Pistons in the regular season, despite Griffin's averaging 24.3 points in those four meetings. He avoided a flagrant foul when he brought Antetokounmpo to the floor in the second quarter. Former Bucks assistants Sean Sweeney and Tim Grgurich are on the Pistons' staff. Detroit entered with a 14-3 playoff record against Milwaukee, winning all four series.

Within six minutes the lead had grown to 17 points and victory looked assured after the opening quarter behind the 38-18 lead.

Milwaukee Bucks' head coach Mike Budenholzer has his troops marching into the 2019 NBA Playoffs a confident bunch.

That's as close as the Pistons would get, however, as the Bucks stretched the lead to 70-43 by halftime. His team made a huge jump in every possible respect from last season; their win total went from 44 to 60, they have the no. 1 ranked defense after finishing 15th last season, and their offense is statistically the best in the league, an improvement from their middle-of-the-road status last season. They scored 77 against Philadelphia in the Eastern Division semifinals in March 1970. "I think we did a great job setting the tone, playing hard together", Giannis said when he arrived at the podium.

Having a player as dominant as Giannis on your roster is a huge advantage, but don't be fooled; the Bucks are loaded.

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