Giannis runs wild, Drummond snaps in Bucks’ Game 1 win over Casey’s Pistons
|Toronto Star 15 Apr 2019 at 09:19|
MILWAUKEE—Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes, and the top-seeded Bucks showed they were serious about making a playoff run with a 121-86 rout of the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 on Sunday night.
The MVP candidate ran and dunked all over the Pistons, who only really caught him when centre Andre Drummond shoved him to the ground with both hands late in the third quarter after Antetokounmpo grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 points.
The Pistons’ Andre Drummond and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo had more than one run-in during Game 1 in Milwaukee. (Aaron Gash / AP)
Drummond was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. He threw a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he was escorted off the court.
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 three-point range.
Seven Bucks players scored in double figures. Eric Bledsoe had 15 points, and Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton each added 14. George Hill scored 16 points off the bench.
Luke Kennard paced the Pistons with 21 points off the bench and Drummond had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Reggie Jackson also had 12 points. Detroit played without forward Blake Griffin, who sat out with a left knee injury.
The Bucks rolled to a 27-point lead in the first half, taking a 70-43 margin at halftime. Antetokounmpo had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Lopez added 14 points and Hill contributed 13.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said his team made a big step forward by qualifying for the playoffs, but vowed to fight against the heavily favoured Bucks.
“We’re not in the class of where Milwaukee is with their program right now,” Casey said. “They were not two or three years ago.
“I remember coming here a couple years ago (with Toronto) and playing against them. They were getting started, building what they’ve got now. Their patience has paid off. It’s a great experience for us to come in and play against a great team like Milwaukee.”
Casey said Griffin was “day-to-day, but too sore to go” in Game 1. Nonetheless, Griffin was called for a technical for protesting Drummond’s ejection.
Former Bucks forward Thon Maker faced his former team and started in Griffin’s place. He avoided a flagrant foul when he brought Antetokounmpo to the floor in the second quarter. Maker had four points and four rebounds in 22 minutes and was booed heavily by the home crowd.
“You don’t have to say giddy-up to Thon Maker,” Casey said. “He wakes up in the morning ready to go.”