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Bucks vs. Pacers Preview: A Central Division Battle

After a victory on Tuesday night, the Bucks will travel to Indianapolis to match up against the Pacers. In the second to last road game of the season, the Bucks are looking to secure a victory to keep contending for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are a playoff team, and they will be contending for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Indiana will look to knock off one of the top dogs while Milwaukee will look to notch another solid win. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know before the Thursday night battle!

Pacers vs. Bucks: Missing 2 starters, Pacers pose no threat in blowout

Bucks vs. Pacers Game Details

Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana

Time: 6:00 PM CST

Where to Watch: Bally Sports WI

Potential Starters for Each Team:

Bucks – PG Jrue Holiday, SG Donte DiVincenzo, SF Khris Middleton, PF Giannis Antetokounmpo, C Brook Lopez

Pacers – PG T.J. McConnell, SG Caris LeVert, SF Justin Holiday, PF Doug McDermott, C Domantas Sabonis

Injury Report:

Bucks – Axel Toupane (oblique) – DTD

Pacers – Edmond Sumner (knee), Jeremy Lamb (knee), Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) – DTD

Myles Turner (toe) – OUT

Bucks 130, Pacers 110: Giannis Antetokounmpo records triple-double

Players to Watch: Bucks

Donte DiVincenzo: Although DiVincenzo has had a rough stretch, he has flipped his performance on its head. A 19 point showing on Tuesday night could be just what Donte needed to gain his confidence back. DiVincenzo has faced heavy scrutiny from the Bucks fandom as of late for his poor shooting. Following this backlash, Donte has averaged 15.6 points in the last five games. The most important part about his recent performances is his three-point shooting. Donte has cashed in on 42% of his three-point attempts. Look for DiVincenzo to continue his hot streak in this matchup.

Jrue Holiday: Holiday has been incredible defensively all season long. Jrue Holiday should be able to prove that he is the best two-way guard in the league once again in this matchup. Indiana has very athletic guards in Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell, and Caris Lavert. While his primary focus will be on Brogdon or McConnell, look for Holiday to get some time defending Lavert. Caris LeVert is a very talented shooting guard. DiVincenzo may not be able to keep up with him defensively. Watch for Holiday in his defensive matchups. Jrue will be a key to success in this matchup.

Players to Watch: Pacers

Caris LeVert: Lavert was very solid against Milwaukee in the previous matchup. Against the Bucks, Lavert averages 19 points and 5 assists while shooting 41.2% from the floor. During the regular season, Lavert is averaging 20.2 points, 5 assists, and 4.6 rebounds. Coming off an impressive performance against the Philadelphia 76ers, LeVert is looking to continue his performance. Watch for LeVert throughout the game on Thursday night.

Damontas Sabonis: Sabonis, an NBA All-Star, is a very talented player. His matchup against Brook Lopez will be an exciting matchup all night long. Against Milwaukee, Sabonis is averaging 27.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6 assists. The most important thing to note about Sabonis is his field goal percentage against Milwaukee. He averages 54.8% shooting with 37.5% shooting from three. Sabonis should be expected to have another solid shooting performance. The task for Brook Lopez will be to limit him as much as possible.

Pacers vs Bucks Odds - FanDuel Sportsbook

Milwaukee’s Keys to Victory

Capitalize on second-chance points: The Bucks are statistically the best rebounding team in the NBA. Indiana currently ranks 25th in rebounding. Milwaukee will have the upper hand all night against the Pacers. With that in mind, taking advantage of the second-chance opportunities will be of the utmost importance. If the Bucks continue to rebound how they have all season, they should be able to claim the victory.

Solid three-point defense: Indiana currently ranks 17th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage. Milwaukee is one of the bottom ten teams in the league in three-point defense. To prep for the playoffs, Milwaukee needs to work on their three-point defense. With a below-average shooting team like the Pacers, the Bucks need to make sure they can hold Indiana to lackluster three-point shooting. If a below-average team can cash in on a high percentage of their three-point attempts, Milwaukee will be in for a long night.

Final Thoughts

As the playoffs get closer, now is the time for Milwaukee to begin their final preparation. With Indiana being a playoff team, it is very important for the Bucks to gain experience against a contender. This is a very important matchup as the Bucks are still within reach for the number two seed. If the Bucks want to secure that seed, victory is the only option.

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