The Pacers face a rough road opener in Milwaukee tonight when they face the Bucks. Not only do the Bucks have a new coach, tweaked lineup and Giannis Antetokounmpo to contend with this year as they battle the Pacers for the Central Division title, but the game on Friday will officially open the Fiserve Forum, Milwaukee’s glistening new hoops arena.
No doubt, the joint will be jumpin’.
The Pacers beat the Bucks three out of four games last season, but this time around Brook Lopez will be in the mix as a veteran stretch five to keep shooters spotted up for the Greek Freak to find when defensive help arrives. New coach, Mike Budenholzer keeps the Bucks offense in constant motion working through Giannis and emphasizing volume three-point shooting, preferably in the corners.
Thad Young will spearhead a team defensive effort to keep Antetokounmpo from going off, but the Pacers will have to lean on their depth in this one (we’re looking at you Tyreke and Domas). The Pacers don’t shy away from mid-range shots and may find plenty with Lopez on the defensive end. Myles Turner can really impact the game by stepping out and hitting a couple of threes early to make Milwaukee decide what to do with Lopez.
Win of lose, the season will roll on for another 80 games, but every game against division opponents is important and against THIS division opponent even more so.
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports Indiana
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan
Projected Starting Lineups:
Pacers: Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner
Bucks: Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez
IND: TJ Leaf (left ankle) - out, CJ Wilcox (torn right Achilles) - out
MIL: Trevon Duval (left eye) - out
Please leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.