Offense optional: Bucks – Pacers Preview

What to Watch For: Bucks

While he’s drawn the ire of what appears to be a sizable group of Bucks fans through three games, Brandon Knight‘s early numbers are hard to scoff at.

While he isn’t necessarily delivering passes that remind you of some of the legendary point guards of NBA’s past or display vision that leaves you suspecting he may in fact be an actual wizard, Knight’s kind of killing it right now, to the tune of 19.7 points, 9.0 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. His athleticism has been prominently on display and he’s made half of his 12 attempts from behind the arc.

Defensively, he’s had his moments both ways. I’ve caught him making a lax effort to fight through a pick on more than one occasion, and Tony Wroten once got Knight high into the air with a pump fake from 3-point range, leading to an open driving lane, which was pretty inexcusable given how shaky a shooter Wroten is. But he memorably contained Kemba Walker quite well and forced him into a few difficult jump shots late in Milwaukee’s opener at Charlotte. Knight has the ability to be an impact defender, especially given the help he has with Larry Sanders behind him. We just need to see more consistency on the defensive end.

Anyway, Brandon Knight is worth watching tonight. Milwaukee may struggle against a still capable Pacers defense, and when Milwaukee’s struggling on offense, Knight has been more than willing to take it upon himself to make something happen.

What to Watch For: Pacers

How the mighty have fallen. Without Paul George or Lance Stephenson, the Pacers have scored just 89 and 92 points in their last two games, losses to the Grizzlies and Hawks. George Hill and David West are out. The lone holdover from Indiana’s feared five of the last two years is the inconsistent Roy Hibbert. C.J. Watson is also ailing with a bruised foot.

Donald Sloan, C.J. Miles, Luis Scola – these are the Indiana Pacers now. And they aren’t as good as the old ones.

But they’ll still play defense, and they’ll still be a significant challenge for the Bucks. Hibbert is blocking nearly four shots a game and Indiana is a strong rebounding team. Milwaukee will need the best Larry Sanders has to offer and a strong night from whoever gets minutes among Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachuila and John Henson.

Logistics:

Time – 6:00 p.m. CST TV – FS-Wisconsin Radio – 620 WTMJ

Injury Report

Bucks: Damien Inglis (foot, still out); Johnny O’Bryant (knee, remains inactive)

Pacers: As mentioned, Paul George, David West, C.J. Watson and George Hill are out. Rodney Stuckey is questionable.

Projected Lineups

Bucks: Brandon Knight – Khris MiddletonJared DudleyJabari Parker – Larry Sanders

Pacers: Donald Sloan – C.J. Miles – Solomon Hill – Luis Scola – Roy Hibbert

Choose the Form of the Destructor: Luis Scola

With his soft touch and flowing hair, he must be hell to play against. He wears one of those thin headbands to hold back his dark mane. He flops and he prods and he bothers. He doesn’t look like the kind of guy who should be kicking your ass on a basketball court, but then he starts dropping in long jumpers and pushing you in the back when you’re trying to get a rebound and you find yourself frustrated and picking up dumb fouls and technicals. This is the Scola Strategy.

I’m not saying it’s the best strategy or that I’d rather the Bucks have Scola than guys like Henson or Sanders, but I’m saying on any given night, he can be a real pest. I’m sure if the Bucks had Scola I’d be cursing his name and waiting for the deal that shipped him out, but as an opponent, he’s kind of interesting. I want to say he’s a bit like Ersan, but he doesn’t have the same low lows or those 3-point make highs. He’s Ersan, with less frustrations and expectations. That sounds nice.

Prediction: Neither Team Will Break The 95 Point Barrier

Categories: Game Previews

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1 Comment

  1. No surprise here, but I’d be really happy if Brandon and Kendall were on the court for at least 12 minutes together.

    I say this off of what Jeremy wrote above about Brandon, and not having known that he has been drawing the ire of what appears to be a sizeable number of Bucks fans.

    Given what Jeremy wrote, including Brandon’s good numbers, the ire would seem to be toward Brandon doing point guard things and not toward him for doing shooting guard things. This supports my contention that Brandon can be an excellent shooting guard, while forcing him into the point position is just going to be frustration for him, his teammates, and the fans — especially at the end of games when defenses stiffen.

    I could very well be wrong, but putting Brandon at shooting guard seems like a really good idea. It seems like even a better idea to at least try Brandon at the two, and at least some of the time in tandem with a true point guard like Kendall. I just don’t see any downside to at least trying such an arrangement, and potentially lots of upside for Brandon, Kendall, their teammates, and us fans.