NBA Daily Playoff Rundown: Bucks Sweep Pistons To Arrange Showdown With Celtics
Giannis’ 41 launches Bucks onto the second round
(1) Bucks win series 4-0 over (8) Pistons
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t waste any time getting rid of their first-round opponents as they soundly defeated the Detroit Pistons with a 127-104 beating, pushing themselves onto the 2nd round of the playoffs. Antetokounmpo put up a game-high 41 points, on top of 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks. All-Star forward Khris Middleton came through with 18 markers, while Eric Bledsoe chipped in 16 points, 5 assists and 2 steals. The Bucks totally annihilated the Pistons this series, coming out victorious each four contests by more than 15 points. In Game 4, Milwaukee’s brilliant offense was clicking anew as the league-leading squad logged in an impressive 54% field goal clip. The Bucks also greatly outrebounded the Pistons, 54-36.
Detroit didn’t go down without a fight, though. The East’s 8th-seeded team was up by six points after the first half. But Bledsoe knew this was coming, and it’s just a matter of weathering the storm, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
"We just had to weather the storm. At the end of the day, they didn't want to get swept. We knew they was going to come out aggressive."
Despite the spirited play of injured superstar Blake Griffin, the Bucks were just a tough match-up for the Pistons. Andre Drummond, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Game 4 loss, says that the Bucks’ experience is a clear advantage over them, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY.
“That’s an experienced team on the other end over there. Like I said last time, when we make mistakes, they capitalize on them. Overall, just a really good team. Tough to beat.”
Reggie Jackson led the way for the Pistons with 26 points and 7 assists, while Griffin came through with an all-around performance of 22 points, 6 assists and 5 boards. It will be interesting to see if the Pistons front office will retain the Jackson-Griffin-Drummond core next season, but with last year’s Coach of the Year awardee Dwane Casey in the helm, it’s safe to say that Detroit will still be a darkhorse contender for the years to come.
The Bucks will now face a talented Boston Celtics squad led by Kyrie Irving and stellar coach Brad Stevens. There will be an extra chip on the shoulder of the Milwaukee squad as they will be up against the same team that bounced them off the first-round of last year’s playoffs.
Jazz refuse to bow down with resounding Game 4 victory
(5) Jazz trail series 1-3 against (4) Rockets
Donovan Mitchell and the defensive-minded Utah Jazz finally flexed their muscles as they staved off elimination and hack out a 107-91 win over the Houston Rockets. Mitchell led the charge for the Jazz as he finished with 31 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, including a highlight-reel alley-oop dunk that capped off his brilliant performance all game long. Jae Crowder also turned in an inspiring outing of 23 points and 4 boards, while Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio chipped in a double-double stat line of 18 points and 11 assists. Trailing by three points entering the deciding quarter, Utah came through with a masterful defensive performance that saw them limit the Rockets to just 12 fourth quarter points, as opposed to the Jazz’ 31 markers in that period.
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder praised his young shooting guard, mentioning how Mitchell’s outstanding offensive performance gave them a much-needed boost, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.
“He continued to attack the rim. And then there were a couple isolation situations where I thought he made nice reads. … You don’t get a chance to read if you don’t attack. I thought by him … making a shot, getting to the rim, and getting fouled — those things are a pretty good formula. The guy we are playing against on the other team has mastered that. Donovan really mixed it up tonight in that regard.”
Rockets MVP candidate James Harden topscored for the team with 30 points, on top of 4 assists, 3 boards and 2 steals. Chris Paul also got himself an excellent game of 23 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 interceptions. However, both superstars combined for 12 of the team’s 15 turnovers. The series will go back to Houston for Game 5, where the Rockets will get a second shot of knocking out the Jazz for good.