Pacers at Bucks

GAME RECAP: Pacers 103, Bucks 96

Victor Oladipo goes for 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists as the Pacers get a win on the road against the Bucks, 103-96. Khris Middleton scored 30 points for Milwaukee in the loss.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 103, Bucks 96

Victor Oladipo goes for 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists as the Pacers get a win on the road against the Bucks, 103-96. Khris Middleton scored 30 points for Milwaukee in the loss.
Mar 2, 2018  |  01:44

Oladipo Throws Down

Victor Oladipo drives by Tyler Zeller and pounds a dunk over the big man.
Mar 2, 2018  |  00:20

Stephenson Steal Leads to Slam

March 02, 2018: Lance Stephenson gets the steal and Glenn Robinson III finishes it off.
Mar 2, 2018  |  02:39

Turner Wows in the Post

March 02, 2018: Myles Turner makes a nice post move and gets the basket and the foul.
Mar 2, 2018  |  01:58

Oladipo Blocks Middleton

Victor Oladipo stays with Khris Middleton in transition and swats away his layup into the first row.
Mar 2, 2018  |  00:14

Oladipo Finds Stephenson

March 02, 2018: Victor Oladipo uses great vision to find an open Lance Stephenson for the bucket.
Mar 2, 2018  |  01:41

Stephenson Attacks

March 02, 2018: Lance Stephenson rebounds his own miss for a layup.
Mar 2, 2018  |  01:26

Game Rewind: Pacers 103, Bucks 96

Friday, March 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET at the BMO Harris Bradley Center
by Wheat Hotchkiss Writer/Editor

Game Recap

After starting their four-game road trip with disappointing losses in Dallas and Atlanta, the Indiana Pacers bounced back in a big way on Friday night in Milwaukee.

Indiana (35-27) opened up a 17-point lead in the second half and held on late for a 103-96 win over the Bucks (33-29) in a game with major playoff implications.

The Pacers have now won two of three games against their Central Division rivals this season, with one more meeting scheduled for Monday night in Indianapolis. But Friday's win assured that Indiana will own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bucks, as the Pacers have now clinched a better division record than Milwaukee, which is the second tiebreaker if two divisional opponents split their regular season series.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

"It was a physical game, and I thought our guys did a great job of handling that pressure," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the win. "Both teams were getting after it from the start, and both teams are playing for the same thing."

Both teams sputtered somewhat offensively in a physical first quarter that featured five technical fouls, but the Bucks held a narrow 21-18 advantage after the opening 12 minutes.

Indiana led for much of the second quarter, but trailed 45-44 entering the break after a first half that featured eight ties and nine lead changes.

The Pacers finally assumed control of the contest midway through the third quarter, reeling off a 14-1 run to open up a 67-58 lead, the first time either team led by more than five points all night. All-Star guard Victor Oladipo was brilliant over that stretch, capping the run by throwing down a ferocious dunk out of a pick-and-roll and then kicking out to Cory Joseph for an open three on the next possession.

"We got back to what we are comfortable doing," Joseph said about the pivotal stretch. "Victor got going. When he gets going he puts so much pressure on the defense. He was going downhill, he was finding people, and he got us into a rhythm."

Lance Stephenson helped the visitors finish the third quarter strong, converting an acrobatic layup at the third quarter buzzer to give Indiana a 78-67 advantage.

The Blue & Gold extended their lead to as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks responded. Milwaukee scored 12 unanswered points over a two-minute stretch to make it a 93-88 game with 4:12 to play.

Oladipo stopped the bleeding by knocking down a 3-pointer with 3:19 remaining, but the Bucks scored the next four points to trim their deficit to four with 1:28 to play.

Oladipo answered once again, this time burying a pull-up jumper to give Indiana a 98-92 lead with 1:13 remaining. On the other end, Khris Middleton drove and drew the sixth foul on Domantas Sabonis, then converted both free throws with 1:02 left.

After Myles Turner missed a jumper, All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had an open look at a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game, but failed to even graze the rim, much to the home crowd's chagrin. The Pacers then sealed the victory at the free throw line in the closing seconds.

It was an impressive rebound performance for the Pacers after dropping games to the Mavericks and Hawks, two of the worst teams in the league.

"We have gotten back to playing Pacers basketball," Joseph said. "It was a grind-it-out game and we were putting on the pressure as a team."

Oladipo led the Pacers with 21 points, while also collecting seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. The former Indiana University All-American scored 17 of his points in the second half.

Stephenson added 16 points off the bench, while Turner contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks. Bojan Bogdanovic (14 points, four rebounds, and four assists), Cory Joseph (12 points, four assists, and three steals), and Thaddeus Young (10 points, eight rebounds, and four steals) all also scored in double figures in the win.

Middleton led all scorers with 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting, while Antetokounmpo added 24 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks for Milwaukee.

The Pacers are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings and face off against the fourth-place Wizards on Sunday night in Washington at 6:00 PM ET. The Blue & Gold will then return to Indianapolis on Monday to host the Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back.

Inside the Numbers

Oladipo topped 20 points for the 40th time this season. The Pacers are 25-15 on the season when Oladipo scores 20 or more.

Bogdanovic went just 1-for-4 from the field, but got to the foul line often, going 12-for-13 from the charity stripe. Prior to Friday, Bogdanovic had not attempted more than seven free throws in a single game this season.

The Pacers' bench outscored Milwaukee's reserves 33-15 on the night, just the second time in the last eight games that Indiana has scored more bench points than its opponent.

Indiana held Milwaukee to 38.3 percent shooting on Friday, just the sixth time this season a Pacers opponent has made less than 40 percent of its shots.

The Bucks blocked 13 shots in the loss, the most blocks by a Pacers opponent in any game this season.

Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, but went just 3-for-11 from the field.

You Can Quote Me On That

"From the arena, to the players, to the refs, it definitely felt like a playoff atmosphere. It was a great win for us. We just have to continue getting better." -Oladipo

"We started to get stops, and kept them in front. We had to do a better job of rebounding the ball (after) the first half. I think (the Bucks) had nine offensive rebounds in the second half. We did a better job of getting there and helping by limiting them to one shot. We started to execute offensively, and got the spacing and set solid screens and made shots." -McMillan on the difference in the third quarter

"A guy like that you don't really stop him, you just try to slow him down. We just did a great job playing team defense. It didn't take one guy to stop him. It was a collective effort. A guy that talented, you need everybody." -Oladipo on keys to guarding Antetokounmpo

"I think things went wrong in the middle of the third quarter. The pick-and-roll really caused us some problems. We made some adjustments and it took us a little bit to get those adjustments and get our assignments right." -Bucks interim head coach Joe Prunty

"I think, for the most part, we did a great job containing him. In that third quarter, he started getting down on those pick-and-rolls. He hit a big shot late, or two big shots late. For the most part I think (Eric Bledsoe) did a great job of making it tough (and) making him shoot over him (with) contesting his shots and whatnot." -Middleton on Milwaukee's defense on Oladipo

Stat of the Night

With Friday's win, the Pacers have clinched a winning division record for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Indiana went 8-8 against Central Division teams each of the past three seasons, but is now 9-6 against divisional opponents this year. The Pacers went 3-1 against both Chicago and Cleveland, 1-3 against Detroit, and are 2-1 against Milwaukee with a final game against the Bucks on Monday.


  • The Pacers had dropped three straight road games in Milwaukee prior to Friday's win. Indiana is now 88-98 all-time against the Bucks, including a 32-61 record on the road.
  • 40-year-old Jason Terry started at shooting guard for the Bucks on Friday, his first start since Jan. 22, 2016.
  • Five technical fouls were assessed over a 38-second span in the first quarter. Stephenson and Young both received technicals for Indiana, while Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe, and Sterling Brown drew whistles for Milwaukee.

Up Next

The Pacers travel to D.C. to take on Bradley Beal on the Washington Wizards on Sunday, March 6 at 6:00 PM ET.


Following a four-game road trip, the Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, March 5 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »