The Milwaukee Bucks came out of the gates hot and didn’t relent all season, earning the best record in the NBA, which gave them the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Their opponent for the first round, the No. 8 seed Detroit Pistons, are in the postseason for the first time since 2016 and just the second time since 2009.

The Pistons backslid into the playoffs, nearly being caught by the Charlotte Hornets for the final spot in the East, but they’ll be looking to make some noise behind All-Star Blake Griffin and big man Andre Drummond. The Bucks have two All-Stars themselves in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, plus Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez have turned in fantastic seasons.

Here’s everything you need to know about this first-round matchup between the Bucks and Pistons.

No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 8 Detroit Pistons

How to watch Game 1

  • Date: Sunday, April 14
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: Fiserv Forum — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • TV channel: TNT
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (try it free)  
  • Odds: Bucks -13

TV listings

All games will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV during the postseason. Games on TNT and NBA TV can be streamed via fuboTV (try it for free).

Playoff series schedule

All times Eastern   

  • Game 1: Pistons at Bucks, Sunday, April 14, 7 p.m. — TV: TNT | Streaming: fuboTV (try it free)
  • Game 2: Pistons at Bucks, Wednesday, April 17, 8 p.m. — TV: NBA TV | Streaming: fuboTV (try it free)
  • Game 3: Bucks at Pistons, Saturday, April 20, 8 p.m. — TV: ESPN
  • Game 4: Bucks at Pistons, Monday, April 22, 8 p.m. — TV: TNT | Streaming: fuboTV (try it free)
  • Game 5*: Pistons at Bucks, Wednesday, April 24, TBD — TV: TBD
  • Game 6*: Bucks at Pistons, Friday, April 26, TBD — TV: TBD
  • Game 7*: Pistons at Bucks, Sunday, April 28, TBD — TV: TBD

*If necessary

Odds and Analysis

Check Sportsline’s NBA pick sheet for all your daily odds.

So who wins Pistons vs. Bucks? And which side of the spread can you bank on in 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Pistons vs. Bucks spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up more than $4,000 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.

Storylines

Bucks: Milwaukee has a chance to cap off a dominant season with an NBA Finals appearance — maybe even a title — and Antetokounmpo can put together a signature playoff run to cement his position as a true NBA superstar (he might have an MVP trophy to go with it at the end of the postseason). The Bucks were a historically good team in terms of net rating and margin of victory, so it’s hard to see them having any trouble with a hobbled and thin Pistons roster. Expect the Bucks to come in focused and look to establish themselves early.

Pistons: The main goal in Detroit this season was to make the playoffs, and they’ve accomplished that. Nobody’s expecting much from them in the first round, particularly with a banged-up Griffin, so they should play free and loose, and could end up taking a game from the Bucks because of it. The big storyline is Griffin — even with him they have a slim chance, but with him questionable for Game 1, this could have sweep written all over it.

Matchups to watch

1. Blake Griffin vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo: For Detroit’s sake, let’s hope that Griffin can get back to himself for the majority of the series. But even so, he’s going to be met with a host of defenders ready to lock him down. Antetokounmpo is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and never shies away from a challenge, so he should guard Griffin for at least portions of most games. That will be must-watch TV as one of the league’s best and most versatile offensive players takes on the Greek Freak.

2. Brook Lopez vs. Andre Drummond: Lopez has reinvented himself as a 3-point specialist and took it to new heights this season. He rarely goes into the paint on offense, so it will be interesting to see what Detroit does with Andre Drummond. They need his size to help protect the rim, but he’ll also have to run out on Lopez to contest his 3s well behind the line. 

3. Mike Budenholzer vs. Dwane Casey: Budenholzer is a favorite to win Coach of the Year, and Casey currently holds the honor, winning for his work with the Raptors last season (which ironically got him fired). The only way the Pistons will have a chance in this series is for them to somehow slow down Antetokounmpo, so it will be interesting to watch the game plan Casey devises. On the other side, Budenholzer will have to contend with Griffin and Drummond, while accounting for shooters like Wayne Ellington and Luke Kennard.

Series prediction, pick

Bucks in four: Sorry Pistons fans — not happening. The Bucks are too loaded, even without Malcolm Brogdon, and Griffin’s health issues make it hard to imagine Detroit will be able to take a game off the NBA’s best regular-season team. 

2019 NBA Playoff Bracket

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Graphic illustration by Michael Meredith (CBS Sports)

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