Game Preview: Pacers vs Bucks
Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
After securing a spot in the Play-In Tournament with an impressive win on Tuesday, the Pacers (33-36) will look to improve their seeding as they host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks (44-25) on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Blue & Gold will play at least one game after the regular season thanks to Tuesday's 103-94 victory over East-leading Philadelphia. That result, coupled with Chicago's loss to Brooklyn, ensured that Indiana will compete in the new four-team Play-In Tournament that will determine the final four playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference.
Tuesday's results also moved Indiana into a tie for eighth place with Charlotte, though the Hornets own the tiebreaker. Finishing seventh or eighth presents a distinct advantage in the Play-In format as those teams have to win just one of two games to advance to the playoffs. The teams seeded ninth and 10th play a loser-goes-home game and then the winner of the game must beat the loser of the seventh/eighth-place game to reach the playoffs.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Tracking the Latest Standings, Remaining Schedules, and More »
The Bucks will still have plenty to play for on Thursday. Milwaukee is currently in third place in the East and one game back of Brooklyn in the loss column, but the Bucks hold the tiebreaker over the Nets. So if the Bucks can make up one game on Brooklyn over the final three games, they would earn the second seed and potentially homecourt advantage in a second-round showdown with Brooklyn..
Milwaukee has had the Pacers' number in recent years, particularly this season. The Bucks won a pair of games at home against Indiana by 20 and 27 points, with both contests essentially over by halftime.
The Pacers will have their hands full trying to slow down Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP is unlikely to win the award for the third straight season, but he is still having a tremendous year, ranking fifth in the NBA in scoring (28.2 points per game), eighth in rebounding (11.0), 13th in field goal percentage (.566), 15th in blocks (1.2), and 20th in assists (5.9).
Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Justin Holiday, SF - Doug McDermott, PF - Oshae Brissett, C - Domantas Sabonis
Bucks: PG - Jrue Holiday, SG - Donte DiVincenzo, SF - Khris Middleton, PF - Giannis Antetokounmpo, C - Brook Lopez
Pacers: Aaron Holiday - questionable (right great toe sprain), Caris LeVert - questionable (bruised right knee), Malcolm Brogdon - out (sore right hamstring), Jeremy Lamb - out (sore left knee), Edmond Sumner - out (left knee contusion), Myles Turner - out (partial plantar plate tear, right foot great toe), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)
Bucks: Axel Toupane - out (right oblique muscle strain)
March 22, 2021: Even without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks raced out to an 83-60 halftime lead and cruised to a 140-113 win in Milwaukee over an undermanned Indiana team playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Milwaukee hit 24 3-pointers — the most ever by a Pacers opponent in a single game. They went 9-for-12 from beyond the arc in the first quarter alone, scoring 48 points in the frame.
"You can't start games like that, giving up that many points in the first quarter," Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren said after the game. "I felt like we were a little bit lighter than usual with our aggressiveness on defense."
Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 22 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the loss. Jeremy Lamb added 21 points off the bench on 8-of-14 shooting, while also tallying six rebounds and five assists.
Three others joined them in double figures. Doug McDermott scored 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, Caris LeVert tallied 19 points, five boards, and five assists, and T.J. McConnell registered 13 points and seven assists.
Jrue Holiday led a balanced effort for Milwaukee, scoring a game-high 28 points while going 11-for-14 from the field and 5-for-6 from 3-point range and dishing out 14 assists. Khris Middleton added 25 points, eight rebounds, and six assists and went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Pat Connaughton was 6-for-7 from 3-point range while scoring 20 points and pulling down nine rebounds in his first start of the season.
- The Pacers have dropped eight of their last 10 games against the Bucks.
- With a win on Thursday, Milwaukee would sweep the season series for the first time since 2009-10.
- The Bucks are a perfect 10-0 against the Central Division this season with two remaining divisional games. They close the regular season in Chicago on Sunday.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.