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Moore: Where There’s Value on Bucks’ Game 4 Team Total

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Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Blake Griffin, Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • Matt Moore breaks down where the value is on the Milwaukee Buck's team total for Game 4 against the Detroit Pistons.

It’s felt like Giannis Antetokounmpo has been largely silent in this first-round series for Milwaukee … except, look at his numbers: 21.3 points, 13 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 52% shooting in just 27 minutes per game. He’s seventh in scoring per-36-minutes in a down series.

However, he is averaging just 0.941 points per possession, ranked 56th among players with at least 30 postseason possessions. He’s averaging half the number of isolation possessions he averaged in the regular season. He just hasn’t been dominant.

Couple that with the Bucks having little motivation on the road for a potential close-out Game 4, shouldn’t the push be on the Bucks’ team total under of 115.5?

Not a chance.

For starters, the Bucks have held the second-most efficient offense of the playoffs, averaging 118.6 points per 100 possessions against Detroit and the third-most points per game at 120. They’ve been the most efficient offense in spot-ups and pick and roll so far this postseason, with their only weakness coming in transition, where they’ve left points on the table (12th in transition points per possession).

The Pistons don’t have the personnel or focus to defend the Bucks’ shooters.

Watch the transition sequence below. Look how far back Andre Drummond is with Brook Lopez headed into a 3-pointer. That’s a 37% volume shooter from deep who is just left open, and the result is an even worse outcome, an open Khris Middleton corner 3. Even if this is designed as a zone as it looks like it is, the Pistons are never going to be able to guard all the Bucks’ weapons without breaking it hard.

Here, again, there’s an issue with Drummond just hanging out in space with no real purpose:

The Pistons have a 134.8 defensive rating with Drummond on the floor in this series, which is the worst for any player playing at least 20 minutes in the playoffs. It is a catastrophic failure across the board.

Middleton-Eric Bledsoe-Lopez lineups are generating 49.7 points per game in 15.5 minutes per game. That’s 43% of the projected team total in 16 minutes of game time (33% of total minutes). It’s been a bloodletting, and there’s zero reason to think there will be any shift.

If anything, there’s reason to believe that Antetokounmpo will have a counter in Game 4. Many of his problems are traceable to turnover problems. Blake Griffin has done a great job of countering Antetokounmpo on drives:

Given how the Bucks’ shooters have made them pay, though, Detroit might divert fewer resources to Antetokounmpo in Game 4, and the minute that happens, he’s to the rim.

The objective of any playoff game defensively is to generate the shots from the opponent you want; you pick your poison. The problem here is that Detroit has very little say in what the Bucks take from their defense, and as a result, you have to believe the over of 115.5 is the play.

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