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Bucks vs. Pacers Preview: Picking Themselves Up By Their Bootstraps

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Milwaukee needs to rebound as they start a three game stretch of contests with playoff seeding implications

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off one of their worst performances of the season on Wednesday, dropping a game to the Detroit Pistons in a pitiful 110-87 game. Tonight they hope returning for some home cooking might get them back on track after dropping their past three contests.

Bucks Update

The less said about Wednesday’s game the better. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just 11 points for the night, including an incredible 0 free throw attempts for the whole game. It’s probably impossible to say anyone was actually the “best” player on the court, but I guess Eric Bledsoe might count with 19 points? Regardless, the Bucks have dropped their past three after the thrilling win over the Toronto Raptors last Friday. The Pistons’ loss was assuredly the most worrying given their mediocre play of late, but the Bucks are about to play the Pacers twice over the span of three games. That’s a lot of playoff ground they could make up or lose in that time.

Player to Watch: Thon Maker

Maker looked like he struggled against Domantas Sabonis in Milwaukee’s 109-96 loss in their last game against the Indiana Pacers. Maker’s been struggling, but should theoretically have the lateral athleticism to curtail Sabonis work within the arc that carved up the Bucks. The key will be keeping them off the glass, as Detroit walloped Milwaukee on the boards and the Pacers were +6 in their last matchup with the Bucks.

Pacers Update

The Pacers are currently at fifth in the Eastern Conference, one game up on Milwaukee in the standings. They’ve continued to ride the All-Star campaign of Victor Oladipo to offensive success, ranked 8th in the league in offensive rating. Despite Myles Turner averaging two blocks per game and Oladipo’s defensive reputation, they are ranked just above the Bucks in defensive rating, 15th at 106.0. Curiously though, they’ve lost their last two games to two definitely not tanking (wink, wink) teams in Atlanta and Dallas. Milwaukee didn’t fare well against another reeling team in Detroit, but hopefully tonight’s return to the BMO might heal whatever was ailing the Bucks that night.

Player to Watch: Myles Turner

Turner isn’t averaging near the gaudy rebounding numbers of Andre Drummond (15.8), but he can still be a formidable man on the glass. Milwaukee’s skinny frontline continues to be thwarted in their attempts to deter their opponents from bludgeoning the offensive boards. Turner’s ability to stretch the floor will test the Bucks’ center rotation too, but his ability beneath the rim on both sides of the court could damage what’s been porous paint protection of late.