2 Bucks, 2 Pacers role players who could swing upcoming playoff series

Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Bobby Portis

After a sluggish start to the season, Bobby Portis kicked it into high gear after the All-Star break. April was by far his best individual month of the season statistically, and the Milwaukee Bucks will need him to carry this momentum into the NBA Playoffs. With Antetokounmpo likely to miss time, the Bucks will need Portis to step up and fill in for the Greek Freak momentarily.

Taking on extended minutes in April with the Bucks banged up, Portis upped his production mightily, averaging 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. If he can produce similar or even better numbers on the big stage, it could help keep the Milwaukee Bucks afloat as Giannis works his way back into the lineup.

Portis has already cemented his status as a fan favorite, but a strong showing in this series could skyrocket his stock in that regard to new heights. After all of the talk about trading him earlier in the season, it would be quite the spectacle if Portis silences his doubters in a series like this and helps the Milwaukee Bucks overcome significant adversity.

Obi Toppin

Just like Portis, Obi Toppin is heating up at the perfect time, having had an impressive month of April, averaging 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals while sinking 41.4 percent of his shots from deep. The Pacers forward is a do-it-all type of player, and he could pose plenty of problems for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Toppin is uber-athletic, and players like that have given the Bucks trouble this season, given the lack of athletic defenders they have, especially ones who can match up against someone who is 6-foot-9. That could become a factor in this series very quickly, especially without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the mix to guard him.

Again, Andre Jackson Jr. would be a nice option to send at Toppin to combat some of that length and athleticism, but it seems much more likely that Doc Rivers may roll with a veteran like Jae Crowder. No matter who they send his way, the Bucks have to find a way to limit Toppin, especially in transition, an area they have struggled in mightily this season. If not, things could get ugly fast.

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