Antetokounmpo riding high as Bucks host Pistons

Giannis Antetokounmpo made more plays for his teammates in his last game than at any time in his career.

The reigning Most Valuable Player now gets a chance to dissect one of the worst defenses in the league.

The Milwaukee Bucks will try to stretch their winning streak to seven games when they host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

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Antetokounmpo recorded a career-high 15 assists en route to his second triple-double this season in a 137-129 victory over Portland on Thursday. He also piled up 24 points and 19 rebounds, though he shot just 33 percent (9-for-27) from the field.

"I think he could average a triple-double, honestly, especially if we make shots," guard Eric Bledsoe told ESPN and other media outlets.

Subtracting their superstar's attempts, the Bucks shot 51.9 percent against the Trail Blazers.

"That's what I tried to do, try to find my teammate," Antetokounmpo said to ESPN. "My teammates were in the right spot. They were able to knock down shots."

Antetokounmpo has increased his production across the major statistical categories while leading Milwaukee to a 12-3 record. He's averaging 30.1 points, 14.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists, all career highs.

The Bucks have continued to churn out victories despite the absence of their second-best player, Khris Middleton, who is out until next month with a quad injury.

"I think guys are starting to move better without the ball and cut and screen," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think there's been a little bit of improvement there, and I think that's just going to make us hopefully harder to guard."

Detroit couldn't guard Milwaukee at all last season. The Bucks swept the four-game, regular-season series and repeated that feat in the opening round of the playoffs. All of the postseason matchups were blowouts, as the Bucks cruised by margins of 35, 21, 16 and 23 points.

Entering Friday's action, this year's Pistons were allowing opponents to shoot 48 percent, tied for third worst in the NBA. They held Atlanta to 43 percent shooting while snapping a five-game losing streak on Friday, 128-103.

The Pistons shot nearly 60 percent, made half of their 34 3-point tries and enjoyed their highest scoring first half in 36 years.

"We wanted to get stops first," coach Dwane Casey said. "That helped fuel our offense and then we took care of the ball. It's very simple. For whatever reason, it hasn't clicked with us. Maybe tonight will jump-start it. Unfortunately, we've got to go to Milwaukee tomorrow night, but tonight was a good start."

Blake Griffin, who missed 11 of the first 14 games due to hamstring and knee injuries, had his best outing this season with 24 points. Casey left Griffin in during garbage time to help his All-Star power forward get into an offensive groove.

"He had juice, he had bounce," Casey said. "When he saw the first three (pointer) go down, that really gave him a lot of confidence. Coming back from where he's been, it's very difficult emotionally and physically because you're not sure what you can do."

Starting small forward Tony Snell, who was traded by Milwaukee during the offseason, missed his second straight game with a hip injury.

--Field Level Media

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