After defeating the New York Knicks (146-122) on Tuesday night behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s near triple-double, the Milwaukee Bucks will now take a trip to Las Vegas. Where they will clash with the red-hot Indiana Pacers on Thursday in the Semi-Finals of the NBA’s first ever In-Season Tournament.
The Pacers, who are the NBA’s current highest scoring team averaging 128.8 points per game, have taken a leap forward this season. After missing the playoffs in 2022, Indiana is currently sitting pretty in the Eastern Conference standings with an 11-8 record. The Pacers have also gone undefeated in the In-Season Tournament, going 4-0 in pool play and defeating the Boston Celtics in the Quarterfinal on Monday with a score of 122-112.
Tyrese Haliburton Continues to Showcase Stardom for the Indiana Pacers
A big reason for the Pacers early turnaround this season has been due to the performance of All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who put up his first career triple-double on Monday versus Boston with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
While his jump shot release might make some people angry including myself, there is no doubting the value Haliburton has brought for this young Pacers team. Averaging just under 27 points and 12 assists per game, he has taken a step up as the true star in Indiana and makes an impact on every game he plays in.
Haliburton’s fast-paced style of play is a big reason why Indiana is the highest scoring team in the league. If Milwaukee wants a shot at the 500,000 dollars and the title of the first ever In-Season Tournament, it will be done by slowing down Haliburton and the pace of the game.
Pat Connaughton Still Nursing Ankle Injury. Questionable for Thursday’s Game for Milwaukee Bucks
Pat Connaughton, who missed the last three games due to a right ankle sprain, is trending towards being ruled out for another contest. Head Coach Adrian Griffin said on Monday that he doesn’t expect Connaughton to suit up the rest of the week, but there is always optimism that he could play through the pain considering he has not been ruled out yet.
In his absence, Cameron Payne, MarJon Beauchamp and AJ Green have been afforded extra minutes off the bench. Look for that to continue if Connaughton is indeed ruled out for another contest. Jae Crowder, who had surgery on his left adductor back in November, has been ruled out for Thursday’s game.
Coverage for Thursday’s In-Season Tournament Semi-Final will start at 5:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN. The winner of this game will advance to the Championship and play the winner of the Western Conference matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans.