Game outlook: Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks


The NBA season has finally arrived, kind of. The Pacers kick off the preseason by facing off against the Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks.

It’s been a long, long offseason with a lot of twists and turns, but at long last, we have arrived…at the preseason. The Pacers begin their exhibition schedule tonight in Milwaukee against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.

It’s a preseason game, which means at it’s core, the outcome means absolutely nothing. That being said, it will still be the first time we see the new squad take the court together, and there will be plenty to watch for.

First things first: the technical stuff. The game will tip off at 8 pm ET and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Indiana and Fox Sports Wisconsin. For those of you who yearn for yesteryear, you can check out the radio broadcast information here.

Clifton Brown of the Indy Star has your starting lineup and full rotation, and it looks pretty straightforward:

"Nate McMillan said he would start Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo at guard, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic at forward, and Myles Turner at center for Wednesday night’s preseason opener at Milwaukee. The first five off the bench will be Lance Stephenson and Cory Joseph at guard, Damien Wilkins and T. J. Leaf at forward, and Domantas Sabonis at forward or center."

I’m not wild about playing Damien Wilkins over someone like Alex Poythress or Ben Moore, especially in preseason, but I’ll take it if it means Sabonis-at-center minutes. Al Jefferson has probably played enough NBA preseason games in his life.

Let’s take a look at a couple things to watch for with this matchup.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

Layups and 3s for days

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I’m about to talk about defensive scheme playing out in a preseason game, so if you don’t feel like you’re in a place where you can stomach that, I understand and I thank you for visiting our blog. Go and live without restraint, maybe even go outside.

The Bucks play a frantic, blitzing style on defense that, in theory, leverages the almost comical amount of length they have up and down their roster. In practice, however, it forces marginally more turnovers and gives up a ton of 3-pointers and shots at the rim.

Consequently, the Bucks have flirted with the bottom 10 in Defensive Rating the last two seasons after giving up only 99.3 points per 100 possessions back in 2014-15.

The Pacers should have no problem playing their game and getting to their spots on offense. Whether they’ll be able to contain Giannis leaping over skyscrapers on the other end is a different discussion.

Dealing with the Moose in the room

Unless Myles Turner has vastly improved as a post-up defender or Domantas Sabonis was hiding some serious skills last season, Greg Monroe is going to eat when he’s on the court.

Monroe probably should have won 6th Man of the Year last year for the role he played in anchoring the second unit for Milwaukee. Despite a rocky-at-times relationship between Moose and the Bucks organization, Monroe has found a place on this team and recaptured the brute force, get-out-of-the-way game that he made his name with in Detroit.

Next: Lowe places Pacers last in League Pass rankings

We’ll be back later on to recap the game for you. Go Pacers.