The Bucks continue their pursuit of the East’s top seed, likely without Giannis Antetokounmpo for this one
The Milwaukee Bucks are rolling, facing an Indiana Pacers team that just played a matinee OT game and is fighting to stay in the thick of the Playoff chase. With college ball taking over the Pacers home city, they’re playing the third game of a small road trip.
Where We’re At
The Milwaukee Bucks have found their momentum, no doubt about that, having rattled off six straight wins. It’s no surprise those dubs have coincided with the growing game of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is flashing everything in his toolkit of late. Against the Spurs, Milwaukee’s most recent win at 120-113, Giannis Antetokounmpo tied a career high 15 assists. With San Antonio sending a flurry of bodies, Giannis calmly found his shooters around the perimeter or fellas getting to the dunker spot. San Antonio also marked the first minutes for P.J. Tucker, who missed his only shot (a corner 3, of course) but showed the type of stout defensive ability that’s his trademark. I’ll be watching his smallball lineups with Giannis in this one, and whether Bud keeps varying the defenses. He broke out more purposeful zone against the Spurs than I can remember in some time. The problem for this one, is that with a four-game week coming up, Giannis is listed as doubtful for this Pacers game.
Per the latest injury report, Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful for tomorrow night’s game against the Pacers with a left knee sprain.
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) March 22, 2021
Indiana has fallen into a rut, and now sit three games below .500 even after a thrilling OT win over the Miami Heat. After winning the last two against Miami, they’re 4-6 in their last ten, 19-22 overall and ranked 9th in the Eastern Conference. After missing time due to the cancerous growth on his kidney, Caris LeVert has returned to the lineup to give the Pacers another decent do-it-all ball handler to pair with Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis. Milwaukee’s last matchup with Indiana ended in a 130-110 victory where Giannis played the most minutes of any starter, a mere 30.
Besides Giannis being doubtful, T.J. Warren is the only notable absence for the Pacers.
Player to Watch
LeVert gives the Pacers another scorer and tall guard who can break down defenses and get his. I’m curious how he will exist in an ecosystem that’s been so Malcolm Brogdon driven, especially ever since Victor Oladipo first hurt his patella last season. The kind of chemistry between LeVert and Turner or Sabonis will be an interesting watch, and I’ll be curious if the Bucks start switching in the backcourt from the outset given the similar skill set between LeVert and Brogdon.