The Pistons only really caught up to Antetokounmpo when centre Andre Drummond shoved him to the ground with both hands late in the third quarter, after the MVP candidate grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 points.
Griffin had a career year this season while making his sixth All-Star team, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 36.2 percent from 3-point range.
Drummond exited the contest with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. Detroit played without forward Blake Griffin, who sat out with a left knee injury.
But the task got more hard with leading scorer Blake Griffin being ruled out of Game 1 due to a sore knee that bothered him in the waning days of the regular season, and the Bucks took full advantage of Griffin's absence.
The Bucks were without guards Malcolm Brogdon (foot) and Tony Snell (ankle).
Detroit shot 38 per cent from the field and went eight of 27 from 3-point distance (29.6 per cent).
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Milwaukee, which swept the four-game season series, led 20-4 less than five minutes into the game.
Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris each scored 20 points, and Boston rallied in the second half to beat in in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. George Hill scored 16 points off the bench. Kennard's 15 points led the Pistons.
Detroit shot 34% in the half (18 of 53) and made just 3 of 14 3-point attempts.
Griffin was issued a technical foul for protesting Drummond's ejection.
Game 2 will be played in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award for the top NBA Coach as voted by his peers is one of the most meaningful in all of pro sports", said Rick Carlisle in his statement to the press.