GAME RECAP: Pacers 92, Bucks 89

Bojan Bogdanovic scored a new season-high with 29 points as the Pacers beat the Bucks for the second time in four days, 92-89. Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points for Milwaukee in the loss.

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GAME RECAP: Pacers 92, Bucks 89

Bojan Bogdanovic scored a new season-high with 29 points as the Pacers beat the Bucks for the second time in four days, 92-89. Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points for Milwaukee in the loss.
Mar 5, 2018  |  00:02

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - March 5, 2018

March 5, 2018 - Pacers players Victor Oladipo, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Thaddeus Young discussed Indiana's 92-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 5, 2018  |  03:34

Bogdanovic's Big Night Beats Bucks

March 5, 2018 - Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic tied his season high with 29 points and made 5-of-7 3-pointers to lead Indiana to a 92-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 5, 2018  |  01:53

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - March 5, 2018

March 5, 2018 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media following Indiana's 92-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 5, 2018  |  07:48

CoJo Steal and Finish

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Cory Joseph
Mar 5, 2018  |  04:00

Lance Hits from Way Downtown

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Lance Stephenson
Mar 5, 2018  |  03:34

Bojan Drills the Transition Three

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights of Bojan Bogdanovic
Mar 5, 2018  |  03:24

Postgame: Bucks Locker Room - Mar. 5, 2018

March 5, 2018 - Bucks head coach Joe Prunty and players Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker talk about coming up short in their Monday night loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Mar 5, 2018  |  01:37

Oladipo with the Nutmeg

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 5, 2018  |  03:14

Vic Stops on a Dime

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 5, 2018  |  03:00

Thad Finishes at the Rim

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 5, 2018  |  02:40

Lance Hits GRIII at the Rim

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 5, 2018  |  02:26

Lance Finds Domas for Two

March 05, 2018: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Mar 5, 2018  |  02:07

Trevor Booker on Signing with the Pacers

March 5, 2018 - Trevor Bookers speaks to the Pacers media about what he expects to bring to Indy after signing with the team.
Mar 5, 2018  |  04:14

Bogdanovic and His Brothers Pull One Out

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Heading out of the locker room after his best game of the season, Bojan Bogdanovic shouted out to nobody in particular, but everybody in general. Everybody who's one of his teammates, that is, as it's highly unlikely he was referring to the media members gathered in the middle of the room.

"All right, brothers!" Bogdanovic said.

"All right, bro," responded Myles Turner, likely the only "brother" who heard him.

That might sound like a routine exit from a winning locker room for an NBA player, but it was another one of those micro-moments that speaks volumes about a Pacers team that pulled together to hatch an escape plan that brought a 92-89 victory over Milwaukee at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday.

For Bogdanovic, a quiet Croatian who is new to the team and still learning the nuances of the English language, to be calling goodnight to the brotherhood says something about the chemistry and camaraderie of the team that just won its 37th game to go 10 games over .500 for the first time this season and maintain fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

It's certainly bringing out the best in Bogdanovic, who matched his season-high with 29 points while hitting 9-of-13 field goal attempts and 5-of-7 3-pointers, added two steals and zero turnovers, helped limit his Bucks counterpart Khris Middleton to six points on 1-of-7 shooting, and made the game's most crucial sequence of plays in the final seconds.

He's now the Pacers' second-leading scorer at 14.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting, both career bests, a credible defender, and increasingly one of the guys in a locker room that was foreign to him at the start of the season. He's now scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games, the longest such stretch of his career, and averaging 19.5 points over that span.

It was preceded and inspired by a scoreless homecourt outing against Charlotte on Jan. 29, a victory to which he contributed virtually nothing.

"I was really ****ed off, and I tried to tell myself that I have to be aggressive and the team needs me," he said. "I'm a starter and I'm playing heavy minutes. That was kind of a big game for me even though I was scoreless."

And so Monday it was Bogdanovic making plays while All-Star Victor Oladipo played what probably was his worst game of the season with 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting and a career-high 10 turnovers, one short of the franchise record shared by four players. The fact the Pacers were playing the second half of a back-to-back set after returning home from a week-long, four-game road trip in the morning's wee hours made it that much more challenging.

"When Victor doesn't have anything going, we need guys we can go to and get something," coach Nate McMillan said.

It wasn't just Bogdanovic giving help. Thaddeus Young once again played exceptional defense, limiting Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo to 18 points, nine below his average. Cory Joseph made his usual hustle plays with three steals, at least as many key deflections and tone-setting defense. Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson each scored 11 points off the bench, although Stephenson threatened to go too far with his homecourt habit of histrionics and had to be pulled from the game for the final five minutes.

Stephenson's exit might have been inevitable anyway, because Bogdanovic was due back in the game. He had earned the right to close things out, and made it pay off in the final seconds.

Oladipo's 10th turnover, an errant pass, led to Middleton streaking down the floor for a go-ahead layup. Joseph managed to deflect the ball from behind out of bounds. A jump ball was called, and then upheld after a video review.

Middleton had a five-inch height advantage over Joseph and controlled the tip near Milwaukee's basket. Bogdanovic, however, stepped in front of Eric Bledsoe to catch the ball and was immediately tackled with 5.1 seconds left.

"I saw Middleton had an advantage on Cory, so I tried to (block out) like on free throws," Bogdanovic said. "I was lucky that the ball bounced in my hand."

He calmly swished both free throws to provide a three-point lead, and Milwaukee failed to force overtime when Antetokounmpo missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"I missed two free throws today (in eight attempts) so I was surprised," he said. "But at the end I was really locked in and I knew I was going to hit both of them."

The Pacers are winless in the six games Oladipo has missed this season, and were rarely competitive in them. Monday's win was encouraging in that it showed they can win with him playing, but playing poorly. He missed shots and he forced passes, although he did extend his streak of games with at least one steal to 47.

It was Oladipo's third poor shooting performance in the six games since the All-Star break. McMillan sees a still-young player dealing with the challenge of becoming a widely-recognized elite player.

"He's having to make adjustments," McMillan said. "This is part of the process he has to go through this season. At the beginning of the season he was (just) a player. November, December people started talking that he was an All-Star. Well, he is an All-Star now. He's seeing different looks and more physical play. He has to learn to play under these conditions. He'll learn from
this. Each game he'll learn. He'll learn from this season he has to get stronger and he has to condition himself more.

"He's going to see double-teams, he's going to see traps, he's going to see the best defender on their team every single night. He'll see that for his career now. He's going to see two, three guys committing to him. And what he has to do in those situations is trust his teammates. He has to give up the ball and not try to make the home run play. If two guys are committed to you, you have to give up the ball and trust your teammates."

Monday's game, then, was further evidence that Oladipo has teammates deserving of his trust.

"Guys stepped up and played great, especially when I didn't play well," he said. "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. It's just awesome, a great feeling. It just shows how good of a team we are."

It also showed what a brotherhood they've become.

"Overall, we mesh well as a team," Young said. "Everybody in this locker room, we love playing with each other, we like going out there and having fun as a team. And when our backs are against the wall, we come together."


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Mark Montieth's book, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," covers the formation and early seasons of the franchise. It is available at retail outlets throughout Indiana and online at sources such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.