3 things to watch in the Milwaukee Bucks division clash vs Indiana Pacers

Dec 15, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers: Tyrese Haliburton
Feb 13, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

After one of the worst losses of the season to start to their longest homestand, the Milwaukee Bucks are right back at it against another team that stripped itself down of some key pieces at the trade deadline in the Indiana Pacers.

While they didn’t make as many questionable moves as the Portland Trail Blazers, the Pacers still moved three rotation players in Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb in one deal as well as Caris LeVert in another.

Given the information I just told you, it should come as no surprise that the Pacers have lost six straight games! Even worse, they’ve gone 5-17 in their last 22 games! That’s not very good! But, as the Bucks come off a game last night, they’re going to be a bit tired. Could this be… another trap game!? Uh oh!

The Milwaukee Bucks will need to contain… Tyrese Haliburton, I guess?

The biggest prize to come out of the NBA trade deadline (non-James Harden and Ben Simmons division) was Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers now have a fantastic building block for their rebuild/retool/reorganization.

For right now though, Haliburton is one lonely dude as he hasn’t played with Myles Turner or Malcolm Brogdon yet and Chris Duarte was injured in their last game so it’s a lot of Haliburton doing things by himself with guys who don’t fit the Pacers long-term plans.

Being the primary focus of the opposing defense’s game plan hasn’t affected the Oshkosh-native too much. It’s only been two games as a Pacer, but he’s averaging 22.5 points on 74.2 percent true shooting, 4.0 rebounds, 11.0 assists, and 2.0 steals. He has turned it over a combined nine times, but that comes with the territory of a young primary ball handler.

Haliburton’s next test will be against Jrue Holiday and the Bucks defense, which might be his toughest so far. He had 24 points on 74 percent true shooting, six rebounds, and 12 assists against the defending champs in January, but he also has less talent around him now.

Milwaukee had a hard time slowing down Anfernee Simons last night and while Haliburton isn’t the same type of scorer, he’s a better overall player and could create some problems.

I’m a big Haliburton fan and am very much looking forward to seeing how he handles this test tonight as he continues to blossom into one of the league’s brightest young point guards.