The Milwaukee Bucks return from the All-Star break ready to continue their stellar season and resume play with a road contest against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday. Milwaukee owns the NBA's best record but will be tested over the next 2 1/2 weeks with eight of its next 11 games on the road.
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All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the final two games before the break due to the birth of his son and the Bucks dropped the second contest, 118-111 to the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 12. Milwaukee won 14 of 15 games prior to the setback, which also was just the club's fifth in 26 road contests. The Pistons have dropped four straight games and 10 of their last 12 and will have to get hot to avoid the franchise's first 50-loss campaign since the 2014-15 season. Detroit lost a 116-112 overtime decision to the host Orlando Magic in its last game prior to the break.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: FS Wisconsin, FS Detroit, NBA TV Canada
ABOUT THE BUCKS (46-8): Antetokounmpo's future was a big conversation piece during All-Star weekend and the reigning MVP indicated that sticking with Milwaukee is the probable end result as opposed to seeking free agency following the 2020-21 season. "I can't think that far ahead. I'm just trying to focus on the moment and get better," Antetokounmpo told reporters. "But why not (stay in Milwaukee)? I'm a guy that wants to be with a team for a while. As long as we're winning, and we're winning so far, so I don't think anything's going to change." Antetokounmpo is averaging 30 points (second in the league), 13.5 rebounds (fifth) and 5.8 assists in 48 games this season.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (19-38): Detroit is aiming to stay afloat as coach Dwane Casey studies the roster in search of building blocks. Casey said he doesn't want to go to a full-out youth movement as he views production as being the most important ingredient. "The only way I think you build a championship-type team is to play the guys who produce," Casey told reporters. "If you just run them out there with no consequences for mistakes, no consequences for lack of discipline, no consequences for letting your guy blow by you, then you're not going to have very much when it's all ready to go (in future years). It's pretty simple from that standpoint."
1. The Bucks are 2-0 against the Pistons this season and have won the past six regular-season meetings.
2. PG Reggie Jackson reached agreement on a buyout with Detroit and is expected to join the Los Angeles Clippers.
3. Milwaukee PG George Hill (hamstring) is slated to return after a seven-game absence.