Pacers vs Bucks

Pacers Staying Together Despite Losing Streak

Feb. 11, 2020 - Despite being mired in a six-game losing streak, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and guards T.J. McConnell and Victor Oladipo said the team is sticking together and trying to maintain a positive mindset.

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Pacers Staying Together Despite Losing Streak

Feb. 11, 2020 - Despite being mired in a six-game losing streak, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and guards T.J. McConnell and Victor Oladipo said the team is sticking together and trying to maintain a positive mindset.
Feb 11, 2020  |  02:56

Game Preview: Pacers vs Bucks

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 7:30 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

With just one game remaining before the All-Star break, the Pacers (31-23) would certainly like to turn their spirits around before taking a refreshing nine days off.

But to do so won't be an easy task. They'll have to topple the NBA's current top team, the Milwaukee Bucks (46-7), at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

Numerous stats can be posted about how good reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have been playing. Through 53 games, they've lost just seven. Currently, they're riding a five-game winning streak after earning a 123-111 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. They've won 14 of their last 15 contests. For the month of February, they have the league's best defensive rating, giving up only 97.0 points per 100 possessions. They're also reeling in an astounding 58.0 rebounds per game during this month.

Antetokounmpo, however, will not play Wednesday after the birth of his son on Monday.

Conversely, frightening stats can be posted about how sluggish Indiana's performances have been as of late. On Monday, the Blue & Gold fell in a 106-105 heartbreaker for their sixth-straight loss. As of Feb 11, the Blue & Gold rank 18th in defensive rating, surrendering 114 points per 100 possessions, and 27th in rebounds (40.0). Their offense has been somewhat inconsistent as well.

But the Blue & Gold aren't going to roll over and surrender. They haven't in any of their losses. In fact, they've led in the fourth quarter in all but one of their games during the slide. They just need to find a way to execute better during crunch time. According to Doug McDermott after their loss on Saturday to the New Orleans Pelicans, the team is still confident. And hungry.

"I mean, we're right there," he said. "It's not like we're losing these games by 20. I mean, we have a chance to win every one of these games. But for whatever reason, we can't just close it out. There's nothing we can do about it now. We just have to stay together — that's the most important part. You know, some teams would divide right now. But I know the character — the characters — we have in this locker room. And we're going to get closer because of this."

Perhaps the Pacers can pull off the upset, and enter the break with some much-needed momentum before they head into crunch time of the 2019-20 NBA regular season.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - T.J. Warren, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Bucks: PG - Eric Bledsoe, SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Khris Middleton, PF - Ersan Ilyasova, C - Brook Lopez

Injury Report

Pacers: None

Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo - out (personal reasons), George Hill - out (left hamstring strain), Kyle Korver - out (back soreness)

Coors Light Cold Hard Fact

Last Meeting

December 22, 2019: Despite their best efforts, the Pacers fell on the road to the Bucks, 117-89, at Fiserv Forum. After trailing by just four at halftime, the Blue & Gold were outscored 58-34 in the second half, leading to the rout.

Indiana jumped ahead on a 10-0 run to start the game and held the lead for the entirety of the first quarter. But the Bucks came back fighting in the second. After 13 second-quarter lead changes, the Bucks found themselves in front, 59-55, at halftime behind the deadly 3-point accuracy of George Hill.

In the third, the Bucks reeled off a 14-4 run to put Indiana in a deep enough hole to hold the lead for the rest of the game. The Pacers did manage to cut a once 21-point deficit to nine early in the fourth. But the Bucks then connected on five consecutive triples in a 2:36 span to put the game away early.

Five Pacers ended up in double figures in the loss. Domantas Sabonis led the way with 19 points and 18 boards for his 24th double-double of the season. Doug McDermott finished with a bench-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. In his first game back against his former team, Malcolm Brogdon recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points and 10 assists.

Noteworthy

  • The Bucks have won four straight matchups, including the first two this season by an average of 23.5 points per game.
  • Domantas Sabonis needs one more triple-double to tie Lance Stephenson for the most triple-doubles in a single season in Pacers NBA franchise history. Stephenson tallied five triple-doubles during the 2013-14 NBA season with Indiana.
  • On Feb. 10 against the Brooklyn Nets, the Pacers debuted their 15th different starting lineup of the season (Brogdon, Oladipo, Warren, Sabonis, Turner).

Tickets

The Pacers host the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Find Tickets »

Ticketmaster - 2019-20 Pacers tickets

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
ESPN - Mark Jones (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst), LaPhonso Ellis (analyst), Adam Schefter (sideline reporter)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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