How to Watch Pacers' Game With Bucks on Wednesday; Gametime, TV, Point Spread
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Pacers will look to carry over the momentum from their 134-116 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the second night of a back-to-back.
Against the Grizzlies, the Pacers' scoring total set a new season-high with Domantas Sabonis (32), Malcolm Brogdon (23), and Myles Turner (22) all surpassing the 20-point mark. Additionally, Indiana went 49-of-82 (59.8%) from the field and 16-of-29 (55.2%) from beyond the arc. It's safe to say, Indiana's offense was firing on all cylinders.
It's important for the Pacers to start getting some wins against the top teams in the Eastern Conference. There hasn't been much for opportunities for Indiana to do so early this season. Recently, they sustained a disappointing 119-110 meltdown against the Philadelphia 76ers.
There isn't a single name mentioned on the Bucks' injury report. Meanwhile, the Pacers will continue to be without Caris LeVert (health issue) and TJ Warren (foot), but could also end up having to play without Myles Turner, as he is listed as questionable.
Here are the particulars for Wednesday night's game:
- Who: Indiana Pacers (12-9) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (12-8)
- When: 7 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Feb. 2.
- Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wis.
- Latest Line: According to Action Network, the Bucks are 8.5-point favorites over the Pacers in this game as of 2:30 p.m. ET.
- Standings: The Bucks currently rank third in the Eastern Conference standings and trail the first-place Philadelphia 76ers by just 2.5 games. Meanwhile, the Pacers rank fifth and trail by 3.0 games.
- Series history: Milwaukee leads the all-time series, 104-81.
- Last meeting: The Pacers and Bucks last faced off on March, 4, 2020, ending with Milwaukee winning 119-100. This game was full of ups and downs. Indiana trailed by as many as 22 points in the first quarter but managed to tie the game up at one point. The Bucks then regained a substantial lead and went up by as many as 28 points in the second half.
- Projected Bucks starters: Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez.
- Projected Pacers starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner.
- TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
- ESPN - Mike Breen (play-by-play), Jeff Van Gundy (analyst), Ariel Helwani (sideline reporter)
- Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)
Here are three things to watch in this matchup:
1. Impact of Giannis Antetokounmpo
Last season, the Pacers encountered significant troubles in their attempts to slow down two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounnmpo. That almost certainly will not be different this go around.
Antetokounmpo appeared in three of the Bucks' four matchups with the Pacers last season. He averaged 24.3 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in just 29.2 minutes. Milwaukee recorded a staggering 36.8 net rating against Indiana when he was on the floor.
It likely will continue to be a challenge for the Pacers to handle Antetokounmpo as it is for any team. However, having Domantas Sabonis at the four-spot does pose some issues for Indiana since his lack of mobility limits the unit's impact against Giannis.
2. Perimeter Shooting
The Bucks have experimented with different defensive strategies throughout the early part of the season. It has resulted in them being a middle of the pack group on this end, largely due to being one of the worst defenses against jump shots.
Milwaukee is allowing an overall opponent output of 0.996 points per possession (PPP) and that ranks 15th in the NBA. However, they are giving up 1.148 PPP in spot-up situations, which ranks better than just the San Antonio Spurs (1.149 PPP) and the Pacers (1.159 PPP).
In the Pacers' blowout win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday, a critical element to their success was perimeter shooting. Indiana went 16-of-29 (55.2%) from beyond the arc with five players recording multiple makes from deep. Will this carry over?
3. Contributions From Domantas Sabonis
The level of impact Domantas Sabonis has provided the Pacers this season has been nothing short of impressive. In fact, he's coming off an incredible display with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists in Tuesday's win over the Grizzlies.
Will Sabonis be able to follow up his impressive outing against a short-handed Grizzlies team when he takes on the Bucks? Last season, he averaged a respectable 15.0 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists, but converted at just a 35.0% clip from the field. Milwaukee often made Sabonis shoot jumpers and crowded his finishes.
It's likely not going to be easy for Malcolm Brogdon to thrive in the scoring department with Jrue Holiday being his matchup. The Pacers will need Sabonis to thrive so they can potentially overcompensate for a tough outing from Brogdon.