Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers Preview
The Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers will meet for the third time this season Wednesday as they go head-to-head in a Central Division clash.
The Bucks come into Wednesday’s game having won five straight games and 19 of their last 21. The win over Sacramento improved the Bucks to 46-7 overall which is the best record in the NBA. Milwaukee is 21-4 on the road this season and 11-0 against teams in the Central Division.
The Pacers are struggling as they lost to the Brooklyn Nets 106-105 Monday night. The loss is Indiana’s sixth loss in a row and the team is now 1-6 since the return of Victor Oladipo. The Pacers are 31-23 on the season and 18-10 at home.
The Bucks won the first two meetings between the teams. They defeated the Pacers 102-83 back on November 16 and won 117-89 on December 22.
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Bucks: George Hill (O), Giannis Antetokunmpo (O), Kyle Korver (O)
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Milwaukee won its fifth straight Monday night when they defeated the Kings 123-111 despite not having Antetokunmpo who missed the game due to the birth of his child.
The Bucks were able to pull out the victory thanks to a dominant fourth quarter in which they outscored the Kings 35-21. Milwaukee led by 14 after the first quarter but saw their lead disappear as the Kings outscored them 34-19 in the second.
The Bucks are now 5-0 this season in games that Antetokunmpo does not play in. A big reason that the Bucks have been able to win without Antetokunmpo is the play of Khris Middleton.
Middleton had 28 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists in the win over the Kings. His play over the last 10 games has been ridiculous as he is averaging 24.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists while shooting 55.0/52.3/92.5.
The Bucks have had no problem with teams in their division or conference this season. Milwaukee is 28-3 vs the Eastern Conference and 11-0 vs teams from the Central Division.
They have the league’s No. 3 offense, No. 1 defense, and the best net rating as well.
The defense has been ridiculously good as they have a defensive rating of 101.6 which is almost four points better than second-place Toronto. The 3.5 point difference between Milwaukee and Toronto is the same difference as Toronto and 14th place Miami.
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup
It was only two weeks ago that the Pacers had beaten the Bulls and saw Victor Oladipo return from his Achilles injury. At the time Indiana was 31-17 and looked like a serious threat in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately, the Pacers haven’t won since that game as they saw their season-high losing streak extend to six games on Monday night. The Pacers blew a four-point lead in the final minute and lost 106-105.
The Nets outscored the Pacers 7-2 in the games final 47 seconds and it was capped off by Spencer Dinwiddie’s game-winner with five seconds left. All six of Indiana’s losses have come by single-digits.
The Pacers were led by Domantas Sabonis who had 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season.
Indiana lost despite having its projected starting lineup for the first time all season. It looks like it might take some time for the Pacers to get used to having Oladipo in the lineup.
The Pacers have lost five straight home games as well as four straight meetings with Milwaukee. Indiana comes into Wednesday’s game with the NBA’s No. 15 offense and No. 13 defense.
Key Player Matchups
Eric Bledsoe vs. Malcolm Brogdon
The Pacers desperately need a win and if they are going to pull the upset then they will need a big game from Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon had a rough performance vs Brooklyn as he finished with six points and three assists. Brogdon had 10 points and 10 assists in the only game he played against Milwaukee this season.
With Antetokunmpo out Eric Bledsoe will be counted on more to help provide the Bucks with more offense. Bledsoe had 28-8-8 on 10-16 shooting in the win over the Kings. He is averaging 10 points and five assists vs Indiana this season.
Ersan Ilyasova vs. Domantas Sabonis
With Giannis Antetokunmpo out as he celebrates the birth of his child the Bucks will turn to Ilyasova in his place. Ilyasova had a disappointing game against Sacramento as he finished with seven points and eight rebounds on 3-10 shooting.
Sabonis should have a big advantage in the matchup with Ilyasova and the Pacers will need him to exploit if they want to end their losing streak. He has been outstanding lately and finished with a triple-double in the loss to Brooklyn. Domantas Sabonis is averaging 15 points and 16 rebounds vs Milwaukee.
With Antetokunmpo not playing the must-play of this matchup becomes Khris Middleton. He has been on fire lately and should continue against a Pacers team that is struggling lately. You can also consider le Domantas Sabonis and Eric Bledsoe.
Middleton is available for $7.2k while Sabonis is $8.1k and Bledsoe costs $6.7k. The highest projection belongs to Middleton at 36.9 points while Sabonis is second at 37.8.
If looking for cheaper options than consider TJ Warren or Malcolm Brogdon.
Bet on Matchup
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