If you’re a fan of regular season matchups that bring a little extra juice, you may be in for a treat tonight as the Milwaukee Bucks play host to the Indiana Pacers to continue a rekindled rivalry.
Where We’re At
Since the Bucks were bounced out of the In-Season Tournament by the Pacers, they have gone on to lose a grand total of one game. Their latest win came on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 119-111. The Giannis Antetokounmpo-Damian Lillard dynamic duo came through yet again for the Bucks, combining for 65 points (34 and 31, respectively) while Milwaukee’s defense continues its gradual climb up the NBA’s rankings. From the depths of the early season, the team defense is now approaching a bang-average rating — the kind of base necessary to win close games even with a truly overwhelming offense to go along with it.
Meanwhile, the Pacers struggled a bit post-IST. Their offense remains the best in the league with Tyrese Haliburton carrying massive creative responsibility on his shoulders (which he continues to pay off, having just registered 23 assists the other night against the Knicks); defensively, they’re largely incompetent and reminiscent of the Bucks at the start of the year. Going into tonight Indiana has won three straight against the Rockets, the Bulls, and the Knicks, and did so without perimeter pest Bruce Brown who has missed a few games with a bone bruise in his knee. Haliburton’s averages over those three games? 25.3 points (.509/.417/.714), 17.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists. My joking aside, he’s a tremendous talent and I completely respect his going full-heel this season. It has made these numerous Bucks-Pacers game that much more entertaining.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo is away from the team for personal reasons, MarJon Beauchamp is listed as questionable with non-Covid illness, and Jae Crowder continues to be out post-adductor surgery.
For Indiana, Bruce Brown’s knee bone bruise has him as questionable with no other misses for the main Pacers.
Player to Watch
We avoid highlighting star players here, so while it should go without saying that Haliburton is the spotlight, I’m going to pick Myles Turner here. He’s struggled to contain Giannis for years now, but in a showdown where a few possessions of solid defense could swing the tide of the game I’ll keep an eye on whether Turner can dig deep and create a few meaningful stops for Indiana.
How to Watch
Bally Sports WI at 7:00 PM (Central)
Game 33: Against the Pacers, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
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