After a week on the road, the Milwaukee Bucks return to Milwaukee and host division foe the Indiana Pacers. The Bucks are at the midway point of the season sitting with one of the best records in the NBA. This is the first time these two teams will face off this season.
Where We’re At
The Bucks had an okay road trip last week. They fought back from a 17-point deficit to win against the New York Knicks and then blew a 24-point lead before restoring the lead late against the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks then lost a pair of games against the Miami Heat; Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t play in either game and Joe Ingles didn’t play the first game on Thursday night. The Bucks’ offense, which has been the biggest issue with the team, has marginally improved in the past two weeks which is encouraging given the absences. The Bucks should be expecting Giannis today as he recovers from his left knee soreness. Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis are listed as probable while Joe Ingles is a notable absence today.
The Bucks have submitted their injury report for their MLK Day game against the Pacers.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 15, 2023
OUT: Serge Ibaka, Joe Ingles, Khris Middleton
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness)
Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain)
Bobby Portis (right quad contusion)
The Indiana Pacers were a team many would have expected to sit near the bottom of the standings. The team was treading water for a while, and with a young squad, there was the possibility they could join the Wembanyama sweepstakes. The Pacers instead are two games above .500 even though they have lost their last three games. The youth players have been driving this team with the likes of Chris Duarte, Bennedict Mathurin, and Andrew Nembhard supporting Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner. Turner, and Haliburton have both been out recently, and the latter is officially out for this one while the former is questionable.
Player to Watch
Jrue Holiday showed up in the clutch last week. His baskets in the last 2:30 minutes of the Knicks iced the game for Milwaukee while he hit a late three and shot over the backboard to seal the win against the Hawks. He will have his hands full with the Pacers’ young guards even if Haliburton doesn’t play. With Ingles out, there will be more of a reliance on him as the primary ball-handler too.
Game 44: Against the Pacers, the Bucks will......
Win big (10 or more points)
Win close (9 or fewer points)
Lose close (9 or fewer points)
Lose big (10 or more points)