Bucks missing star player, have another key player questionable against the Pacers

The Indiana Pacers will play their first playoff game at home on Friday night. They once again don't have to face Milwaukee's best player. They might not have to face their third-best player either.
Apr 21, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) and Indiana
Apr 21, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) and Indiana / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers return home on Friday night with their first-round series tied 1-1 against the Milwaukee Bucks. The combination of Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam led them to a win in Game 2. Now, they return to the friendly confines of Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the next two games.

Milwaukee has been without Giannis Antetokounmpo in each of the first two games. He's obviously their best player and not having him has hurt them. It has allowed Siakam to destroy Bobby Portis and score 36 and 37 points in each of the first two games of this series.

Antetokounmpo is now listed as out for Game 3 as well. The longer this series goes, the more questions that surround him and his calf injury. Is he even going to be ready for this series at all? Will he come back? The Bucks need him to, especially if another player is going to be out for a couple of games.

The Bucks might not have Khris Middleton available against the Pacers after already having Giannis Antetokounmpo out

Khris Middleton sprained his ankle in the first half of Game 2. He did come back in the second half and ended up playing 36 minutes. The problem is that sprained ankles start to swell up once the adrenaline wears off. That's exactly what happened and he didn't practice on Thursday.

Now, there is real doubt whether or not he will play in Game 3. If he doesn't play, the Bucks are in a real pickle. The Pacers already dominated in Game 2 once their shots started to fall. Without Middleton, they might not have enough offense with Giannis out. Damian Lillard can only do so much.

That's very good news for Pacers fans. They can keep attacking with Siakam and Turner and make them pay. While Tyrese Haliburton has yet to get going with his scoring, his passing and pace continue to be key for Indiana. He's not going to stop doing that either.


Injuries are a part of the playoffs. The Pacers don't have their best bench scorer in Bennedict Mathurin. No one is crying for the Bucks and the Pacers are happy to just keep winning games.