Game Preview: Pacers vs Bucks
Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
After facing off against two of the NBA's last three MVPs on Friday night in Houston, the Pacers (7-5) return home to face the league's reigning MVP on the second night of a back-to-back.
Indiana held Russell Westbrook, the 2016-17 MVP, to just 5-of-21 shooting on Friday, but unfortunately for the Blue & Gold, the Rockets also have James Harden. The 2017-18 MVP continued his recent tear, scoring 44 points — going 13-for-26 from the field, 6-for-14 from 3-point range, and 12-for-14 from the free throw line — to lead Houston to a 111-102 victory.
The task doesn't get any easier for the Pacers, who now have to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (8-3) for the first time this season. The Greek Freak is making a strong case to retain his title as the league's Most Valuable Player, as he currently ranks second in the NBA in both scoring (30.5 points per game) and rebounding (14.5 boards per contests). Antetokounmpo is also averaging 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 58 percent from the field.
The main storyline heading into Saturday's game was supposed to be Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon facing off against his former team for the first time. Indiana acquired Brogdon from Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade over the summer, sending a first and two future second-round picks to the Bucks.
While Brogdon was a valuable contributor for the Bucks, he has thrived in a larger role so far in Indiana. The 6-5 guard out of Virginia led the Pacers in both scoring and assists heading into Friday's game in Houston.
But Brogdon exited Friday's contest in the first quarter with a sore lower back and did not return, making it unclear whether he will be able to take the court against his former team on Saturday.
If he can play, Brogdon downplayed the significance of facing his former team at Thursday's practice.
"It's another game for me," Brogdon said. "I'm looking forward to seeing those guys, competing against them, but that's really as far as it goes."
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Aaron Holiday, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - JaKarr Sampson, C - Domantas Sabonis
Bucks: PG - Eric Bledsoe, SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Donte DiVincenzo, PF - Giannis Antetokounmpo, C - Brook Lopez
Pacers: T.J. McConnell - questionable (sore right groin), Malcolm Brogdon - doubtful (sore lower back), Jeremy Lamb - doubtful (left ankle sprain), Myles Turner - doubtful (right ankle sprain), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee surgery rehab), Edmond Sumner - out (right hand fracture)
Bucks: Khris Middleton - out (left thigh contusion)
March 7, 2019: The Bucks pulled away in the second half, cruising to a 117-98 victory over the Pacers in Milwaukee.
Myles Turner led Indiana with 22 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks in the loss. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points and five rebounds, while Kyle O'Quinn tallied 11 points and five boards off the bench.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a game-high 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds and five assists. Khris Middleton added 27 points, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
"Too much Antetokounmpo, too much Middleton," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "When they have the attack at the basket and knocking down threes, they're going to be tough to guard. They were pretty much knocking shots down from the perimeter and getting shots at the rim tonight."
- The Pacers have 90-101 all-time record against the Bucks, but are 59-38 in games played in Indianapolis.
- Indiana had won four straight games against Milwaukee at Bankers Life Fieldhouse before the Bucks prevailed in their last visit to Indianapolis on Feb. 13.
- Saturday's game will complete the second of 11 scheduled back-to-backs for the Pacers this season. Indiana is 1-0 so far when playing on the second night of a back-to-back thanks to a 121-106 win over Washington on Nov. 6.
- The Bucks' roster features two former Pacers: George Hill (2011-16) and Wesley Matthews (2019).
The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fiedhouse to host reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Nov. 16 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: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.