Just over a month ago, Bojan Bogdanovic was held without a point during a win over the Hornets. Since that night, he's posted double-digit scoring in every game.
Monday night was no exception.
With the Pacers trailing the visiting Bucks by two points at halftime, Bogdanovic caught fire in the third quarter, pouring in 11 of his game-high 29 points as Indiana took control of the game en route to the 92-89 victory, their third straight.
"I'm just trying to be aggressive. Last game against Milwaukee I didn't have a lot of shots, but I tried to get to the free throw line. That was the key," explained Bogdanovic. "After that game I was scoreless here against Charlotte (on January 29), I was really mad, and I just tried to tell myself that I have to be aggressive. That was kind of a big hint for me when I was scoreless."
Fittingly, Bogdanovic scored the first points of the second half, and kept rolling from there. During a period of just over two minutes, Bogdanovic canned three triples, forcing two timeouts from the Bucks during the frantic Pacers run.
The Pacers' sprint, which saw their lead balloon to as much as 15 points, was countered with an impressive stretch by the visiting Bucks (34-30). Milwaukee put together a 12-0 run, springing back into the game. With under a minute remaining in the third quarter, Lance Stephenson hit a shot with his heels nearly on the halfcourt logo to give the Pacers a four-point cushion entering the final quarter of play.
As the fourth got underway, Stephenson sent in another three, getting the final quarter off to the right start for the Blue & Gold.
When Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe — who led his team with 26 points — blitzed through the lane for a layup to cut the Milwaukee deficit to three, Domantas Sabonis answered with a hook shot. Domas' shot was followed by another 3-pointer from Bogdanovic, his fifth of the evening.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »It was then that the Pacers' offense began to stall, going a full three minutes without a field goal. Luckily for the Pacers (37-27), Indiana was able to hold Milwaukee at arm's length during the stretch until Thaddeus Young broke the draught with a 3-pointer from the corner.
With 1:40 left in the game, the Bucks trimmed the deficit down to just two points as Antetotkounmpo dropped in an alley-oop.
Moments later, Giannis was sent to the free throw line, where he connected on one of two to make it a 90-89 Pacers lead.
While trying to ice the game, Victor Oladipo's pass to Bogdanovic was intercepted and taken the length of the court by Khris Middleton. While trying to attack the rim, Cory Joseph appeared to strip Middleton, but the play was ruled a jump ball following an official review.
With 6.8 seconds on the clock, Joseph and Middleton took the tip, with Joseph giving up a sizable height advantage.
Middleton managed to tip it first, but the ball fell directly into the hands of Bogdanovic, who was promptly fouled and made both free throws to go up by three with 5.1 seconds remaining.
On their final shot of the night, Antetokounmpo managed to shake free of the defense and attempted the would-be tying 3-pointer from the wing. But the shot was well off the mark, as the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse erupted in applause at yet another home #PacersWin.
"Just a gutsy win. Bojan played great today for us. Guys stepped up and played great, especially when I didn't play well," said Oladipo, referencing his 10 turnovers. "It's always great to get a win when you don't play well. It's almost as good as when you play well and get a win."
Indiana's offense was slow to start the night, notching just eight points in the game's first six minutes of action. Luckily for the Pacers, the Bucks were equally out of sync, making only two of their first 11 shots from the field.
By the end of the opening quarter, the Pacers had built a 20-17 lead and limited the Bucks to just 6-of-20 shooting.
To open the second quarter, Milwaukee's bench wrested control of the lead, getting ahead 30-28 as Giannis Antetokounmpo spun through the lane for the easy layup.
Even as the Pacers' offense began to click, with Oladipo and Thad Young scoring on consecutive possessions, the Bucks continued to answer, holding a 40-35 lead with 2:37 remaining in the half.
The Pacers nearly regained control of the lead at halftime, but a late 3-pointer from Tony Snell gave Milwaukee a two-point lead entering the locker room.
When the second half began, the Pacers' offense came out scorching, opening up the third quarter on a 13-4 run that was capped by a corner three from Bojan Bogdanovic. The bucket triggered a Milwaukee timeout as Indiana jumped ahead by seven, bringing the home crowd to its feet.
The timeout, however, did little to slow the rolling Pacers, who came out of the stoppage with eight more unanswered points, which included two more connections from deep sent from the red-hot hands of Bogdanovic.
Despite leading by as much as 15 in the third, Milwaukee stormed back, making it a four-point game and setting up the frenetic fourth quarter at The Fieldhouse.
"I'm really happy with this win," said Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. "This is a back to back, tie-breaker, we wanted to win that, and we knew this team was going to be a grind out. They had a hell of a win last night and we did too, being on the road and coming back here, we knew it was going to be a tough game."
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers scored 29 points off of turnovers, including a 20-7 edge in the second half.
Bojan Bogdanovic's 29 points ties his season high
The Pacers began the third quarter on a 21-4 run.
Bogdanovic has now scored in double figures in a career-best 13 straight games, and is averaging 19.5 points per game over that stretch.
You Can Quote Me On That
"It says that we're a good team and we can play. There are guys in this locker room that can play at a high level. It's great to have those guys. I'm happy to be a part of this program and this team. We just have to continue to keep getting better." -Victor Oladipo on beating another playoff team
"To beat any team in the league twice in five days is tough. Especially a team that is going to be a playoff team. I think that we did a great job. They kind of hurt us in the first half off of our turnovers and in the second half we locked in and really deserved this W." -Bojan Bogdanovic
"I think (Bogdanovic is) a good shooter and you have games or a week or so where you may lose your rhythm, might be fatigued and you have to find that by working and maybe getting some rest. He's been pretty consistent for us all season long and tonight and nights where Victor doesn't have anything going, we need guys like that, guys that can go and get something. I thought he delivered not only offensively but that jump ball that he got was a game-winning play" -Nate McMillan
Stat of the Night
With a record of 37-27, the Pacers are now 10 games above .500. The last time Indiana was exactly 10 games over .500 was Nov. 22, 2013, when they beat the Celtics to open the season with an 11-1 record.
Victor Oladipo set a career high with 10 turnovers.
The Bucks have now lost five of their last six games.
Trevor Booker, who was signed by the Pacers on Saturday, did not play on Monday, but is expected to make his Pacers debut on Wednesday against Utah.
The Pacers have clinched the season series over the Bucks 3-1.
The Pacers are back in action at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday as they host Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz at 7:00 PM ET. >