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Game Preview: Pacers at Bucks

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After wrapping up a six-game homestand, the Pacers (12-17) will hit the road for the first time in more than two weeks. Indiana makes its first visit to Milwaukee on Wednesday to take on the defending NBA champion Bucks (18-11).

Though their homestand got off to a rough start with a pair of losses, the Pacers righted the ship, sweeping three games last week and leading the Warriors (owners of the NBA's best record as of Tuesday) for much of Monday's game before falling in the final seconds. While there are no moral victories in the NBA, the Pacers left Gainbridge Fieldhouse feeling encouraged by the progress they've made over the last week.

"I feel like playing with more intensity on defense is getting us out running," Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis. "We get to play quicker, we're all sharing the ball more, and it's contagious."

Sabonis has been the biggest catalyst for the Pacers' success. The big man is making a strong push for his third All-Star nod. He was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 25 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6 assists during Indiana's three-game win streak, then tallied a game-high 30 points and 11 rebounds against Golden State.

The Pacers will need Sabonis to be at his best on Wednesday if they want to knock off the defending champs. The Bucks have already swept a pair of games with the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse this season, winning those contests by 10 and 18 points.

Milwaukee will be without their superstar big man Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is once again putting up eye-popping numbers, averaging 27 points, 11.6 boards, 5.8 assists, and 1.6 blocks, on Wednesday after the two-time MVP went into the health and safety protocols on Tuesday night. All-Star forward Khris Middleton (17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists per game) may also miss Wednesday's game after he hyperextended his knee in Monday's loss in Boston.

Projected Starters

Malcolm Brogdon

Malcolm Brogdon

Chris Duarte

Chris Duarte

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis

Myles Turner

Myles Turner

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday

Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen

Pat Connaughton

Pat Connaughton

Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton

Bobby Portis

Bobby Portis

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Caris LeVert, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Warriors: PG - Jrue Holiday, SG - Grayson Allen, SF - Pat Connaughton, PF - Khris Middleton, C - Bobby Portis

Injury Report

Pacers: Justin Holiday - questionable (return to competition reconditioning), T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Bucks: Khris Middleton - TBD (hyperextended left knee), Giannis Antetokounmpo - out (health and safety protocols), DeMarcus Cousins - out (personal reasons), Brook Lopez - out (back surgery), Wesley Matthews - out (health and safety protocols), Semi Ojeleye - out (right calf strain)

Last Meeting

Nov. 28, 2021: The Bucks pulled away in the third quarter and cruised to a 118-100 win over the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Caris LeVert was a bright spot for the Pacers in the loss, scoring a season-high 23 points in just 26 minutes, going 9-for-13 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range.

But it wasn't enough to overcome big performances from two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (26 points on 10-of-15 shooting and 13 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (23 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists), who led the Bucks to victory.

"The second quarter was rough, the third quarter was rougher," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "Against a team like this, you've got to be super tight. You've got to be doing everything right, you've got to be making shots. We just struggled. We struggled with their great players and just didn't have enough in the tank tonight."

Noteworthy

  • The Bucks have won six straight and 11 of the last 13 games against Indiana.
  • The Pacers have never won a game at Fiserv Forum, which opened prior to the 2018-19 season. They are 0-6 in the building.
  • The Blue & Gold also have yet to win when playing on the first night of a back-to-back. They are 0-5 in those games, but 3-2 when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)