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Bucks vs. Pacers Preview: Playoff-bound Pacers hit Milwaukee for season finale

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The Pacers will rest four starters including Paul George tonight.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: With their playoff seed locked up, the Pacers will not surprisingly be fielding their B-team tonight...

The Indiana Pacers have already clinched the seventh seed in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs; the Milwaukee Bucks can only hope they'll have locked up a playoff spot of their own at this time next year.

Tonight marks the regular season finale for the disappointing young Bucks, who host the Pacers -- or some version of them -- inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center for Fan Appreciation Night this evening.

Bucks Update

Monday in Orlando, the Bucks sustained road loss No. 31 in a 107-98 defeat at the hands of the Magic. Milwaukee trailed by as many as 20 before trimming that deficit to four with roughly five minutes to go. Still, they came up short in the Amway Center thanks to Mario Hezonja going off for eight late points to help the Magic pull away. Greg Monroe led all Bucks players with 23 points.

Even though the Bucks weren't mathematically eliminated from the postseason until a few weeks ago, their playoff hopes were more or less gone by January. The team's regression on defense, injury-prone bench and (pre-Giannis) inconsistency at point guard were some contributors to their disappointing 2015-16 campaign. Starting tomorrow they'll have a long offseason to figure out what comes next.

However, the two biggest bright spots this season came after the break: Giannis Antetokounmpo's point guard breakthrough and Jabari Parker's arrival (we've still got love for you too, Khris). Antetokounmpo has excelled at the primary ballhandler gig — five triple-doubles since taking over the reigns — and has already been tabbed as the primary handler for next season, while Parker continues to post 20+ scoring nights with regularity.  Both players have seen a huge jump in their numbers after the break, providing some on-court positives even as the race for lottery seeding has become the primary focus off it.

Speaking of which, the Bucks enter the night tied with Denver and Sacramento for the 8-10 slots in the NBA Draft Lottery. With the Knicks (#7) losing in Indy yesterday, Milwaukee will slot into one of those spots regardless of what happens tonight. with a coin flip used to break any ties in the draft order. Unfortunately for the Bucks, the odds are against Denver (at Portland) and Sacramento (at Houston) winning tonight, as both will be on the road facing teams with playoff seeding at stake. Houston must win to make the playoffs at all, while Portland may or may not have their seeding locked up by the time they tip in Oregon: if Dallas beats a zombie Spurs team in an early game, Portland will need to win to clinch the fifth seed. If they Dallas loses, then Portland nabs the fifth seed regardless.

Injury report: Jerryd Bayless is listed as doubtful for tonight's game.

- Aron Yohannes

Pacers Update

Indiana's 102-90 win over the Knicks last night means tonight is little more than an academic exercise for Indy -- good news if you're hoping for the Bucks to end the season with a win and bad news if you're hoping the Bucks get a higher pick in the NBA draft. No judgment either way, people. While Bucks fans are looking forward to the draft lottery, Indy will travel to Toronto this weekend for a first round matchup with the second-seeded Raptors.

As a result, don't be surprised if Frank Vogel opts to rest or sparingly play key veterans like Paul George, George Hill and Monta Ellis while giving extended run to the likes of Ty Lawson, Rodney Stuckey and Glenn Robinson III. George has played the fourth-most minutes in the NBA and has been nursing a bone bruise, so it would seem all but certain that we don't see him on the second night of a back-to-back that doesn't mean

- Frank Madden

Injury report: C.J. Miles (shoulder) is questionable, though he's likely not to be the only one sitting out for rest.

On the Pacers: Indy CornrowsIndy Star

2015/2016 NBA Season
(33-48, 23-17 home)
vs.
Indiana pacers.vbc2aeb5
(44-37, 18-22 road)
April 13, 2016
BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
7:00 CT
FS Wisconsin+ | 105.7 The Fan
Probable Starters
Rashad Vaughn PG George Hill (?) Ty Lawson
Khris Middleton SG Monta Ellis (?) Rodney Stuckey
Jabari Parker SF Paul George (?) Solomon Hill
Giannis Antetokounmpo PF Lavoy Allen
Greg Monroe C Ian Mahinmi Myles Turner
2015/16 Advanced Stats
94.2 (23rd) Pace 96.6 (11th)
104.4 (26th) ORtg 104.7 (22nd)
108.8 (23rd) DRtg 103.0 (3rd)