The Bucks are preparing to be without their superstar early against the Pacers

The Indiana Pacers will take on the Bucks starting Sunday. It looks like they won't have to deal with their superstar to start out the series.
Jan 3, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) catches
Jan 3, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) catches / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers will renew their rivalry with the Bucks in the playoffs starting on Sunday. These two teams really don't like each other and it showed when Michael Beasley made his comments. Indiana won four out of the five matchups they played against the Bucks, including the In-Season Tournament.

None of those matchups had Pascal Siakam in them though, so that should help the Pacers even more. Most of those matchups had Giannis Antetokounmpo in them. The Buck's superstar is one of the best players in the entire league. He's probably a top-three player.

Giannis provides too many matchup issues for the Pacers. He is a bull in a china shop and he can get to the rim at will. Defensively, his length creates all kinds of problems for Pacers players trying to get to the bucket. He suffered a calf injury last week and now he's not going to be ready to start the series.

The Pacers won't have to deal with Giannis early in their series against the Bucks

The Bucks are preparing to not have Giannis at the start of the series. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, they are operating under that assumption. It's unclear when he might be available in the series, but it doesn't seem like he'll play in the first couple of games.

This is massive news for the Pacers. This makes playing the Bucks a lot easier. Not having a top-three player in the league available to play against a team that has beaten you four out of five times is not ideal for Milwaukee. That doesn't mean the Pacers can take them lightly though.

Damian Lillard becomes the focal point of the offense. They can now afford to put Aaron Nesmith on him if they need to instead of Andrew Nembhard. The Pacers will need to make sure that Khris Middleton doesn't get going, but their defensive assignments get much easier.

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The Indiana Pacers have to take advantage of the games that Giannis misses. They have to win those games to make sure they have a cushion once he does return. It's a big deal that he's going to be gone and it would be crushing to not have a series lead when he comes back.