Game Preview: Pacers at Bucks
Friday, March 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET at the BMO Harris Bradley Center
Last Updated: March 2 at 11:45 AM ET
After two disappointing losses, the Pacers (34-27) will look to get back on track on Friday night in Milwaukee, when they take on the Bucks (33-28) in a game with major playoff implications.
Indiana opened its four-game road trip with back-to-back losses to Dallas and Atlanta, two of the worst teams in the league this season (the Mavericks entered Monday's game against the Pacers with an 18-42 record, while Atlanta was 18-43 heading into Wednesday's contest against the Blue & Gold).
Too many turnovers doomed the Pacers on Wednesday night. Indiana had a season-high 24 giveaways (four more than its previous high) in a 107-102 loss to the Hawks. In a sequence that summed up the night, the Pacers turned the ball over on each of their first four possessions of the third quarter, allowing Atlanta to open the second half on a 10-0 run to open up a double-digit lead.
But despite those two losses, the Pacers have maintained their position in the playoff race so far this week. Indiana is currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, a game ahead of both Philadelphia and Milwaukee, putting extra importance on Friday's game against the Bucks.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »
The Pacers and Bucks split a pair of games in early January, so their next two contests (they meet again on Monday in Indianapolis) will decided who owns the head-to-head tiebreaker, which could very well come into play in at the end of the season. Even a split would be good for Indiana because it would clinch the second head-to-head tiebreaker, which is division record for teams in the same division.
As usual, the focus for the Pacers on Friday will be on slowing down Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak is third in the NBA in scoring at 27.2 points per game, but has had mixed success against Indiana so far this year.
Antetokounmpo torched the Pacers for 31 points in 29 minutes on 12-of-18 shooting in a 122-101 win in Milwaukee on Jan. 3. Five days later, however, the Pacers locked him down, holding him to a season-low three field goals over 32 minutes in a 109-96 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Pacers: PG - Cory Joseph, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Bucks: PG - Eric Bledsoe, SG - Sterling Brown, SF - Khris Middleton, PF - Giannis Antetokounmpo, C - John Henson
Pacers: Darren Collison - out (left knee arthroscopic surgery rehab)
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo - probable (eyelid contusion/irritation), Malcolm Brogdon - out (left quad tendon injury), Matthew Dellavedova - out (right ankle sprain), Tony Snell - out (right thigh contusion), Mirza Teletovic - out (pulmonary emboli)
January 8, 2018: The Pacers dominated the Bucks in 109-96 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana led 37-16 after the first quarter thanks to a 20-0 run and led by as many as 29 en route to the win.
"Just playing on both ends," Victor Oladipo said about the Pacers' fast start. "Turning it up on the defensive end. When we get stops and (can) run out, we're a pretty good team."
Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Myles Turner added 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting in just 24 minutes to go along with six rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Oladipo chipped in 15 points, five assists, and three steals, while Thaddeus Young had 15 points and eight boards.
Bucks forward Khris Middleton led all scorers with 19 points and also tallied five rebounds and four assists. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who entered the night second in the NBA in scoring at 29.1 points per game, managed just 17 points on 3-of-8 shooting, though he did go 11-for-14 from the free throw line.
- The Pacers have lost their last three road games in Milwaukee.
- The Bucks have a 98-87 lead in the all-time series with Indiana, including a 61-31 record at home.
- Bucks rookie guard Sterling Brown and Pacers rookie two-way forward Ben Moore were teammates for four years at SMU from 2013-17.
Following a four-game road trip, the Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, March 5 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)
Away Game Night Special
Pacers City Edition Crew Fleece - $30. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM - Midnight. Order Online »