With or without stars, Bucks look to survive against Pacers

With or without stars

The Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs sooner than predicted.
And this could happen with their top two players out of the lineup.

Higher-seeded Milwaukee aims to keep its season going on Tuesday night when it hosts the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Sixth-seeded Indiana leads the series 3-1.

The Bucks have been without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for the entire series and lost star guard Damian Lillard to an injury late in Game 3.

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Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers said the focus should be on Tuesday’s game, regardless of who is available for the Bucks in a must-win game. Antetokounmpo and Lillard were listed as questionable on the injury report Monday evening.

“One game at a time,” Rivers said. “We have two games left at home. They have one game left at home. You can look at it this way. The first thing is we have to win the first game at home. We can talk about the rest after that. “

The Bucks have missed Antetokounmpo badly in the series, but his teammates understand he is not physically capable of going against Indiana.

“He’s the best player on the team, but obviously we don’t want him to put himself in any danger that he shouldn’t be in,” said Milwaukee center Brook Lopez. “He’s going through all the rehab, handling it the right way, getting his treatment done. He’s been around the team, which has been great for us.

“For guys going into Game 5, we’ve got to prepare the same way we’ve been preparing, and we’ll see what happens. We just want Giannis to do whatever is the smartest thing for him to do. “

Lillard averaged 32.3 points in the first three games of the series. Khris Middleton averages 26.3 and maxes 42 for the Bucks.

The Pacers lost the first game of the best-of-seven series before winning the final three games. Indiana scored 94 points in its loss and is averaging 124 points in its three wins.

Star guard Tyrese Haliburton has noticed the difference.

“Game 1, I felt like they set the pace. I would say that’s been the story the last three games,” Haliburton said. “In a world and league that says, ‘Oh, you can’t play fast in the playoffs,’ we don’t really believe that. We’re going to continue to be who we are and leave our mark and our mark on every game.” “

Haliburton made five 3-pointers and scored 24 points in a 126-113 home win in Game 4 on Sunday. Myles Turner was the biggest star with 29 points, nine rebounds and seven 3-point baskets.

The seven treys tied the franchise mark for a playoff game shared by Chuck Person, Reggie Miller, Paul George and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Pacers big man Pascal Siakam said of Turner, “He was sensational on both ends of the floor.” “Just playing with a lot of maturity and strength, which we need from him. … Just being a beast on both ends. He’s been great.”

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Guard TJ McConnell echoed Siakam’s thoughts.

“He’s been doing that all year,” McConnell said of Turner. “He’s just the foundation of our defense and the way he’s able to step out and make shots, he can be a mismatch for a lot of teams. … He was obviously really good and deserved that from the fans. Call his name. He played really well.”

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