Detroit News predictions: Pistons vs. Bucks

The Detroit News
Blake Griffin (23) and the Pistons lost all four regular-season meetings to the Bucks this year.

Rod Beard, Matt Schoch, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News predict the outcome of the NBA first-round playoff series between the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks.

Rod Beard: The Pistons have made it back to the playoffs — but barely. Blake Griffin's knee injury contributed to their slide in the final weeks, which gave them an unenviable matchup against the Bucks, the playoff team that they maybe match up with the worst. The Bucks' pace, their guards and the matchup problems will be tough to overcome. Though the Pistons will play tough, it'll be a tall order to hold down Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is poised to solidify his MVP season. Pick: Bucks in 4

Matt Schoch: The Pistons’ late-season slide cost them any legitimate chance at a first-round upset. The question here is whether to give the Pistons a win and in some ways it’s splitting hairs. Giannis Antetokounmpo could vanquish Detroit in four games, especially with Blake Griffin's knee injury limiting his effectiveness. But I expect the Pistons to win one at home, maybe on a night the Bucks prolific 3-point shooting is off and Luke Kennard, Wayne Ellington and Langston Galloway are hitting. It's a stretch to say breaking the 11-year playoff win drought signifies a successful season, but it’s something. Pick: Bucks in 5

John Niyo: There are bad matchups, and then there’s this one. The Bucks aren’t just the best team in the East. They’re also a team desperate to prove they’re not a playoff fraud. And they’re led by a player the Pistons simply can’t defend in should-be MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. With a healthy Blake Griffin, they’d have a chance to steal Game 1, given the Bucks’ own injury problems. But even that seems like a pipe dream. Pick: Bucks in 4

Bob Wojnowski: Milwaukee has good size, great guards and a dynamic offense that just steamrolls opponents. Oh, and the Bucks have the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who likely will edge out James Harden for league MVP. With Blake Griffin hobbling on a sore left knee, the Pistons' main hope is to get hot from 3-point range — Luke Kennard, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Jackson — and they're too streaky to count on it. The Bucks will roll at home and the Pistons will keep the games relatively close in Detroit. They might even steal one, but I wouldn't bet on it. Pick: Bucks in 4

Pistons vs. Bucks

Game 1: Pistons at Bucks, Sunday, 7 p.m. (FSD Plus, 97.1 FM)

Game 2: Pistons at Bucks, Wednesday, 8 p.m. (FSD, 950 AM)

Game 3: Bucks at Pistons, April 20, 8 p.m. (FSD, 97.1 FM)

Game 4: Bucks at Pistons, April 22, 8 p.m. (FSD, 950 AM)

*Game 5: Pistons at Bucks, April 24

*Game 6: Bucks at Pistons, April 26

*Game 7: Pistons at Bucks, April 28

* - if necessary