The Milwaukee Bucks will be sweating on the availability of Khris Middleton ahead of their visit to the Indiana Pacers. The veteran sharpshooter is currently dealing with a right knee injury and a sprained wrist. He will likely be a game-time decision for the coaching and medical staff.

Milwaukee will also be without veteran forward Jae Crowder who continues his recovery from surgery. AJ Green is also out for their game against the Pacers. However, superstar duo Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo are both healthy and will suit up for the contest.

The Bucks currently sit second in the Eastern Conference with a 24-9 record. There have been some teething issues with Adrian Griffin’s system, and how he wants his team to play, most notably in crunch-time execution and the overall defensive system they’re being asked to play.

Lillard’s defensive limitations are also proving to be a concern for Milwaukee. However, Lillard is currently +0.1 in defensive estimated plus/minus, meaning he’s still positively impacting that side of the floor, however marginal it may be. Nevertheless, Milwaukee’s two-man game between Lillard and Antetokounmpo has given them a boost.

However, Middleton’s ability to space the floor and flatten out the defense is a core aspect of the Bucks’ overall offensive strategy. If he’s ruled out against the Pacers, that will be a big blow to Milwaukee’s chances of securing a win.

Damian Lillard is averaging 25.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game, shooting 43.1% and 36.5% from 3-point range. His ability to generate offense for himself, pull defensive attention away from Giannis Antetokounmpo, and create for others has given the Milwaukee Bucks a new dimension within their offense.

Lillard can operate as a primary ball-handler, off-ball guard, and floor-spacing shooter around the perimeter. His versatility is ensuring Antetokounmpo has plenty of room to drive and opportunities to attack mismatches in the half-court.

As such, it’s safe to say that Lillard’s addition to Milwaukee’s roster has given them the boost they were looking for. There’s an elite two-man game taking place for the Bucks, and opposing defenses are struggling to find ways to slow it down.

Nevertheless, Khris Middleton remains the swing factor for Milwaukee. It’s his floor spacing on the wings that makes everything else tick. When he’s on the court, everything is easier for the Bucks offense, especially in terms of open driving lanes and spread pick-and-rolls.

Lillard has been a fantastic pickup for Milwaukee, whether that will lead to a championship run for the Bucks will remain to be seen, though.

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