Pistons vs. Bucks preview: Detroit hits the road; reinforcements on the way?

Detroit Bad Boys

Coming off (arguably) their most exciting win of the season, the Detroit Pistons hit the road for a game against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

The best part about it? They look like they might finally be getting healthy.

The Pistons assigned Cassius Stanley, Deividas Sirvydis and Trayvon Palmer to the Motor City Cruise on Monday, which means some of the guys who’ve been stuck in Covid protocols recently should be back for tonight’s game.

Game Vitals

When: 8 p.m. ET

Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Watch: Bally Sports Detroit

Odds: Pistons +16

Analysis

So, now we speculate.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweeted that all but Cory Joseph and Isaiah Stewart have cleared protocols and are off the injury report for tonight’s game. That means we should see the starting backcourt of Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes as well as Josh Jackson, Rodney McGruder, Saben Lee and Trey Lyles.

It’s possible we see Lyles re-join the starting lineup, he was playing really well before going into protocols, but Luka Garza is also coming off a whale of a game against the San Antonio Spurs. Maybe toss Garza a bone and give him another start with Lyles in the wings?

That’s one thing we need to be cognizant of tonight: these dudes are NOT going to be in game shape. If you’re a gambler, it’s probably smart to bet the under on guys when they come out of protocols. It’s hard to jump right back in and be yourself.

Obviously, low expectations for most tonight.

The Bucks are still the Bucks. Though Khris Middleton is out, Jrue Holiday has been on a bender (24 points per game over his last 10) while Giannis Antetokounmpo just scored 35 points in a triple-double last time out.

It’ll be interesting to watch Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo with Hayes and Cunningham back in the fold. Both have been dominating the ball over the past week and a half, so it’ll be an adjustment with reinforcements on the way.

I’m really interested to see where Hami slots in. He was starting right before the outbreak and has really taken a step up offensively recently. Can he keep that style of play up with a lot of usage shifting back over to Cade and Killian?

Keep your expectations low, of course, but be happy: The Pistons are able to play more NBA players than G Leaguers for the first time since before Christmas.

Projected Lineup

Detroit Pistons (6-28)

Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Hamidou Diallo, Saddiq Bey, Luka Garza

Milwaukee Bucks (25-13)

Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis

Question of the Game

Which Pistons’ regular does the recent rise of Hamidou Diallo positively or negatively impact most?

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