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Milwaukee Bucks Vs Detroit Pistions

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

(1) DETROIT PISTONS

This team has had its starting five together since February 2004 and since that time they’ve won one NBA Championship (2004) while making it to the finals the other year. Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups have played a total of 228 games together—48 of those being playoff contests.

They offer consistency on the court, sporting a .776 winning percentage. Known for solid defense over the past three seasons, under new head coach Flip Saunders they’ve increased their offense, including points per game (93.3 to 97.0), field goal percentage (.444 to .455), assists (21.8 to 24.1 – 2nd in the NBA) and three-point percentage (.345 to .385 - 2nd in the NBA).

Ben and Rasheed Wallace are excellent defenders, while point guard Chauncey Billups will pretty much control the flow of the game and the court. Along with averaging 18.5 PPG, Billups was fourth in the NBA in assists, with 8.6 PG.

At guard, Hamilton is the master of 3-pointers, leading the league by hitting 49% of his long shots. If he gets in a roll, it can be lights out for opponents.

During the playoffs, the Pistons, who won a team record and league best 64 games this year, will hold the home court advantage. That type of advantage almost seems unfair to all the other teams in the tournament. However, the Pistons certainly earned it.

Detroit will be extremely difficult to shut down. At both ends of the court opponents will find them to be worthy adversaries. Will there be another trip to the finals and a second title in three years? These are both distinct possibilities.

(8) MILWAUKEE BUCKS

The Bucks were 40-42 (.488) this season and the only team in the NBA to make it into the playoffs with a sub-500 seasonal mark. You’ve got to ask yourself, what chance does a team with only 40 wins have in the NBA’s second season?

In a league where more than half of the teams are less than competitive, Milwaukee represents the best of the worst. However, this club does have some fine players, including guard Michael Redd, point guard T.J. Ford and center Jamaal Magloire.

Redd is a fine shooter, certainly the best on the team with 25.4 PPG while hitting field goals 45% of the time, 3-pointers 40% and foul shots 88%. If Redd is having a good night throwing it in the hoop, chances are the team will have a good night too.

Guard T.J. Ford is fast and able to get into the lane quickly; he has a fine shot, hitting 42% from the field. Jamaal Magloire shot 47% from the court, while taking in 9.5 RPG. His 9.2 PPG could be higher and that would help Milwaukee a lot.

In order to move past the first round, this team needs more than Michael Redd. Redd is a fine player, but if a club like Detroit, who Milwaukee will meet in the first round, gangs up on the guard, there’s very little chance of anyone else stepping up.

A lack of depth and basic bench strength will hamstring Milwaukee’s playoff hopes this year.

Maddux Sports Series Picks

Detroit win series 4-0

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