Malcolm Brogdon is returning to a place he called home for the first three seasons of his NBA career.
After a sign-and-trade deal in July sent Brogdon from Milwaukee to Indiana, the 27-year-old will return to Fiserv Forum with the Pacers on Sunday to face the Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
While Brogdon expects to receive a warm reaction from the fans in Milwaukee, the former NBA Rookie of the Year said he’s focused on extending Indiana’s winning streak to a season-high six games.
“I have nothing but respect and love for those fans,” Brogdon said. “They were great to me for three years, so I’m extremely appreciative of them.
“But I’m here to play basketball. I’m here to compete. All the other stuff, it can be a distraction.”
Brogdon was unable to compete in the Pacers’ first encounter with Milwaukee, as a sore back left him a spectator in the Bucks’ 102-83 win on Nov. 16.
“(Missing that game was) definitely tough, but I’m excited to play against this team in a place I once called home. Guys I’m very familiar with, so I’m excited to play,” Brogdon said.
T.J. Warren had 23 points, Myles Turner had 17 points and Brogdon added 13 as Indiana answered a victory over the Western Conference leading Los Angeles Lakers with a 119-105 win against Sacramento on Friday.
Domantas Sabonis, who had 15 points, fell one rebound shy of his 14th consecutive double-double on Friday. The 23-year-old also exited the contest with a sore left hip that has him questionable to play against the Bucks.
The Pacers have won 13 of their last 16 games heading into the tilt with Milwaukee (26-4), which has emerged victorious in 20 of 21 contests and is off to its best 30-game start since 1971-72.
“We know they’re a top team, and we have to respect them for that,” Turner said. “But we have to go with the mindset that we’re going to punch first and, hopefully, leave there with a win.”
Antetokounmpo recorded his third triple-double of the season and 17th of his career with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bucks’ 123-102 triumph over the New York Knicks on Saturday.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player collected 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the first meeting with the Pacers.
Brook Lopez added 14 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks on Saturday, as Milwaukee benefited from seven players scoring in double figures to dispatch the Knicks.
“We just have a great belief in each other, (Nos.) 1-15 that whoever is out there, whichever five, is going to go out there and get the job done,” Lopez said.
Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters that he believes Wesley Matthews will return to the court against Indiana after sitting out for the first time this season against New York.
“I think we’re very hopeful he’ll be available (Sunday). It was great to get an extra night, and hopefully it heals up even more,” Budenholzer said of Matthews, who is averaging 7.9 points and 24.0 minutes per game.
–Field Level Media