The Indiana Pacers could be favored against the Bucks if they don't have star player

The Indiana Pacers have a first-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, They could be favored to win the series if Milwaukee is missing their star player.
Jan 3, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots the ball
Jan 3, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots the ball / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers are the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. They will be taking on the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee lost their final two games of the regular season to fall into the third spot. Part of the reason why they lost those two games is because their star player got hurt.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has a calf injury. Worse than that for the Bucks, it was a non-contact calf injury. He just went down while he was on the court. He was able to put pressure on his leg, so that's a good sign. Still, people around the NBA fear it could be Achilles-related.

News has now come out that Giannis may not be available for Game 1 of this series. He is rehabbing every day but there is still significant concern that he may not be ready to go for the start of the series. While you hate to see injuries for anyone, that is good news for the Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers might be favored if Giannis stays hurt

The Pacers have already beaten the Bucks four out of the five times they've played them this year. They feel extremely confident heading into this matchup whether Giannis is out there or not. They're not afraid of them at all and have only improved since those matchups.

Pascal Siakam is now on the team. He did not play in any of the previous Pacers/Bucks matchups. He hadn't been acquired yet. Siakam gives the Pacers another option to throw at Giannis when he does come back defensively if they don't want to put Nesmith on him.

Indiana is coming off a massive offensive performance against the Hawks as well. They just scored 157 points so they are very comfortable with their shot-making. They know that their pace is going to be a key to beating the Bucks. Milwaukee's defense has been very up-and-down since Doc Rivers took over.


Without Giannis, the Bucks could have a real problem beating the Pacers. Indiana can definitely make some noise and win this first-round series. Even with Giannis, that's possible. The Pacers are a dangerous matchup for this team.