Giannis Says Goodnight Detroit

Late in the third quarter, the Bucks in the middle of a 17–3 run to close the period that broke the game open and broke Detroit, Reggie Miller started trying to list all the Pistons who took turns trying to guard Giannis, most of them in foul trouble, all of them in real trouble.

“Glenn Robinson, Thon Maker, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond…”

The camera panned to them, watching Giannis go to the line again. There were at least three or four others who tried guarding Giannis too.

In his first closeout game since losing Game 7 in the first round in Boston last season, Giannis delivered closeout play after closeout play on the way to 41 points and MVP chants.

Here were a half dozen of them.

  • Drummond started with verve and that got the Pistons going with a 22–11 lead early, but right then, Giannis foreshadowed how it would end by blocking Drummond at the rim and going the other way for an and-one.

  • The first lead of the night for the Bucks came when Giannis stepped into a three early in the second quarter. He later airballed one, but just as all year under Mike Budenholzer, he was not dissuaded or discouraged.

  • On the very next play down, he gave one to old friend Thon Maker.

  • Ish Smith played 10 minutes in the first round against the Heat for the 38-win Bucks in 6 Bucks in 2013, and Ish was a likable player on the infamous squad. A few months later, the Bucks drafted Giannis. Apropos of that:

  • At halftime, Kenny Smith narrated Giannis highlights by telling Shaq “he is you Shaq, he is you.” Shaq interjected by saying “better, better.” A few minutes earlier, Giannis hung in the air for his most memorable play of the night, a finish that was more Jordan than Shaq, but the thing is, Giannis has evolved to a point where you cannot compare him to any one player. He is always a combination of the greats. Shaq, Jordan, Pippen, David Robinson. And like the greats, he is on the way to being incomparable himself.

  • The Pistons made one last push, bringing to within 10 points with more than 10 minutes to play. Then the Bucks went on a 15–0 run. In the middle of that run, Giannis said something after hitting a three and it was probably not goodnight.

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