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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers Preview: A chance for revenge on enemy soil

Are you tired of the Pacers yet?

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks will complete their home-and-home series with the Indiana Pacers with a matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. This game will be the Bucks’ fifth and final meeting with the Pacers during the regular season.

Where We’re At

The good news is that the Bucks sit at 24-9 with a comfortable 5.5 game lead in the Central Division. The bad news is that the Pacers (who sit just below them in the division standings) have been their Achilles heel this season, taking three of their four games against Milwaukee, including the In-Season Tournament semifinal matchup in Las Vegas. That lone win was noteworthy though, as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 64 points and inadvertently started a dialogue surrounding the hierarchy of achievements for sports memorabilia. The most recent bout between these two teams was less dramatic, but it certainly wasn’t the result Bucks’ fans were hoping for. After a back-and-forth three quarters, Milwaukee suffered a critical scoring drought, resulting in a 122-113 defeat. Giannis registered a 30-point triple-double in that game, but a rough shooting night from Damian Lillard and just 16 total points from the bench (the Pacers’ bench had 70) were ultimately the Bucks’ undoing.

The Pacers are hosting the Bucks on the heels of a four game winning streak, their longest of the season. Over that stretch, Tyrese Haliburton has averaged 25.5 points and an absurd 16 assists per game. It’s obvious that Hali is the engine of this unit, but his supporting cast isn’t too shabby. Myles Turner has been a solid three-level offensive big this year, and Bennedict Mathurin has developed into a reliable complement to the backcourt in his second year. With that said, this team’s strongest weapon is its depth. Rick Carlisle loves to use fresh legs to his advantage, and it’s not uncommon to see nine or 10 guys to play double-digit minutes and take plenty of shots for good measure. This playing style has clearly been a headache for the Bucks, who only have six players averaging more than 10 minutes per game.

Injury Report

Pacers forward Bruce Brown—who missed Monday’s game with a knee injury—is listed as questionable to suit up on Wednesday. Andrew Nembhard will be a game time decision with a minor back injury suffered in Monday’s game.

For the Bucks, AJ Green will be inactive with a nasal fracture. Jae Crowder is also out, as he continues to rehab his left adductor and abdominal tear. Khris Middleton is questionable due to right knee injury management.

Player to Watch

Let’s see what Brook Lopez can do tonight. He had a bumpy stretch of games to close out 2023 (7.5 points per game in his last four), but he entered the new year on a good note, scoring 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting against Indiana. Maybe 2024 is the year of Brook!

How to Watch

Bally Sports WI at 6:00 PM (Central)



Poll

Game 34: Against the Pacers, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (11 votes)
  • 41%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (21 votes)
  • 21%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (11 votes)
  • 15%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (8 votes)
51 votes total Vote Now

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