The Indiana Pacers snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night at the Fiserv Forum, winning 139-123.
It’s just the third loss for the Bucks since Jan. 23, and they fell to 50-20 on the year. The Pacers won for the third time in their last four games to improve to 32-38.
Pacers have big second half to topple Bucks
With 12 players available — and Giannis Antetokounmpo in early foul trouble — Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer went 10 deep to outlast the Pacers. Starters Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton led the way as they all reached double figures in scoring, and Joe Ingles Meyers Leonard, Jevon Carter and Wesley Matthews also scored off the bench.
Milwaukee assisted on 26 of their 46 field goals and attacked the paint (66) en route to shooting 54.1% from the floor when the regulars were inside. At one point late in the third quarter, they were making shots at a 61% clip – despite being just 8-for-22 (36%) from behind the three-point line at the time.
All signs were that the Bucks could win, but they were never really able to distance themselves from the Pacers despite building multiple double-digit leads through the first three quarters.
That was because, like Milwaukee, Indiana got everyone involved on the offensive end as eight different players reached double figures.
Indiana used two different 11-0 runs in the third quarter to take a 104-101 lead into the fourth. The rallies were fueled by a 9-for-11 performance from behind the three-point line, propelling them to a 49-point quarter.
The Pacers opened the fourth with a 13-3 run that gave them a 117-107 lead, which the Bucks chased from there. But Indiana’s Andrew Nembhard (24 points), Aaron Nesmith (22), TJ McConnell (19) and George Hill (15) kept hitting shots and Milwaukee couldn’t make enough stops down the stretch to come back.
Foul trouble slows down Giannis Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo spent most of the first half as a spectator for the Bucks after picking up three early fouls in the second quarter, but he made his presence felt early in the third quarter.
He immediately attacked Indiana center Myles Turner and drew two fouls on back-to-back plays, then Middleton and Holiday found him for alley-oops through traffic on consecutive possessions after that to help the Bucks take a 10- points lead.
But he also drew his fourth foul in this stretch of games, and would earn his fifth early in the fourth quarter. With that, the Pacers attacked the paint more and took a more physical approach with Antetokounmpo on offense to take a 12-point lead about halfway through the fourth quarter.
The punctuation came when Turner dunked on Antetokounmpo to make it 136-120 Pacers with 2:13 left, then Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer pulled his starters.
BOX SCORE: Pacers 139, Bucks 123
Antetokounmpo finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes. He made 10 of his 17 shots but was 5 for 10 from the free throw line.
He played just 10 first-half minutes as the Bucks built a 64-55 halftime lead. He was 4-for-7 for nine points and had six rebounds and two assists, but had to sit out the final eight minutes of the second half. He left the game with the Bucks leading 44-40, and the Pacers tied the game shortly after he left the game, but the team closed on a 20-11 run over the final seven minutes of the half.
22 Three-pointers made by the Pacers, who shot 47.8% from deep.
12-0 First and second quarter points for Indiana sharpshooter Buddy Hield. Hield scored a dozen in the opening frame to keep the Pacers tied, but he only attempted one shot in the second quarter. He finished with 20 for the match.
46 Seconds, a stretch where Antetokounmpo was called for three fouls in the second quarter. He picked up his third with 7:58 left, sitting until halftime.
84 Second half points for the Pacers, who turned a 14-point deficit into a 16-point victory.
12-02-2020 The last time the Pacers beat the Bucks, a 118-111 win at Fiserv Forum.
Tyrese Haliburton misses another homecoming
The Indiana all-star and Oshkosh native rolled an ankle in a recent practice, and the Pacers star was not only ruled out for the game against the Bucks, the next handful for his team by head coach Rick Carlisle. Haliburton, who is averaging 20.8 points and 10.4 assists per game in his breakout season, has missed all three games against the Bucks this season.
Jordan Nwora meets former teams
The 24-year-old wing faced his former team for the first time as a member of the Pacers. As part of a deadline deal with Brooklyn, Phoenix and Indiana that brought Jae Crowder to Milwaukee, Nwora ended up with the Pacers. Heading into Thursday’s game, he had averaged a career-high 12 points in 21.3 minutes per game. game for the Pacers.
“This is a really good opportunity for him,” Carlisle said. “He has a real ability to get the ball in the basket. He can do it off the catch-and-shoot, he can do it off the dribble, he can do it off floaters.”
The Pacers were without not only Haliburton, but guards Ben Mathurin (16.6 points per game) and Chris Duarte (8.0 points per game) against the Bucks, giving Nwora the start and a greater opportunity to showcase himself against the team that hit him. in the second round by Louisville in 2020.
But he saw Middleton and Wesley Matthews across from him for most of the game. Nwora had just four points in the first half on 2-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes, but he finished with 12 points and was 2-for-3 from behind the three-point line in the second half as the Pacers took the lead.
His catch-and-shoot three with 57.7 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Pacers a 102-101 lead, and they trailed by a lot after that.
The play of the game is George Hill’s fourth quarter three
The Pacers took a 112-105 lead early in the fourth quarter, forcing the Bucks to call timeout to try to stem the tide. But then former Bucks guard George Hill came out of the break and knocked down a three-pointer to give his team a 115-105 lead with 10:05 left. Normally, that’s more than enough time for the Bucks to come back, but with Antetokounmpo in foul trouble and the Pacers playing hard, it would prove to be the backbreaker for the best team in the East.
Video of the game is Meyers Leonard’s dunk in traffic
With Lopez out and Antetokounmpo in foul trouble, the Bucks turned to the 7-foot Leonard early in the game, and he filled some space in the post after a smart overhead pass by Jrue Holiday led to a ferocious dunk over two Pacers defenders. Leonard had six points in the paint in the first half, giving the Bucks a 38-20 advantage in that area despite Antetokounmpo playing just 10 minutes.
Buck’s injury report
- Brook Lopez (left ankle soreness), out
- Jae Crowder (left calf soreness), out
- Goran Dragić (left knee soreness), out
- Grayson Allen (right plantar fascia soreness), out
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo (not with team), out
Who will play the Bucks next?
The Bucks will have a few days off before hosting the Toronto Raptors at 7:00 PM on Sunday at Fiserv Forum. The Raptors are under .500 but still in the mix for the play-in tournament, so Nick Nurse’s team comes in needing a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. They are led by all-star Pascal Siakam and guard Fred VanVleet. OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes are also having good seasons for the Raptors.