Tyrese Haliburton
(Matt Kryger)

Game Rewind: Pacers 121, Bucks 118 (Game 3)

Friday, April 26 at 5:30 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Pacers-Bucks Game 3 Mini Movie

Game Recap

Playing his first ever playoff game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Tyrese Haliburton conjured up memories of Reggie Miller, hitting a game-winning shot in overtime to lift the Pacers to a 121-118 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series.

Tied at 118 with 6.7 seconds remaining after another heroic three from Bucks forward Khris Middleton, the Pacers ran a play that saw Haliburton sprint from the sideline into the backcourt, where he took an inbound from Andrew Nembhard.

That allowed the All-Star guard to get a get a head of steam as he sprinted towards the basket, burying a runner through contact from Patrick Beverley with 1.6 seconds to play. After sending the sell-out crowd into hysterics, he knocked down the ensuing free throw.

"I just knew I was shooting it no matter what," Haliburton said. "Didn’t know what I was going to get to, it was just kind of based off of feel out there. Khris pushed Pascal (Siakam) up to tell Patrick to go under, so as soon as I saw Patrick kind of turn his head I just rejected and that opened everything up across the middle."

Haliburton's heroics gave Indiana the victory and a 2-1 series lead over the third-seeded Bucks.

It was the fitting end to a memorable night for Haliburton, who recorded just the fourth postseason triple-double in franchise history, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 16 assists.

Haliburton was just 7-for-21 from the field and 1-for-12 from 3-point range before his final attempt, but he got a shot to fall when the Pacers needed it most.

"I finally made a shot," he quipped in his postgame press conference. "I couldn’t buy a bucket today."

Haliburton had to wait until his fourth NBA season to get his first taste of playoff basketball, but once he did, he didn't wait long to add his name to Pacers postseason lore.

"I live for these moments," Haliburton said. "That’s why I’m here. They have a lot of trust in me, this organization does. I felt like with six seconds, it was enough time for me to get a good look and it happened."

The Pacers appeared to have Game 3 won in regulation, but Middleton's last-second 3-pointer sent the game into overtime.

In the extra session, Middleton and Myles Turner traded jumpers before a wild Pacers possession that began with 3:23 on the clock and ended with 1:42 and somehow ended with no points. Indiana missed six shots in that sequence, managing to come up with five offensive rebounds before Damian Lillard pulled down a missed three by Haliburton and dished ahead to Middleton, who was fouled on the break.

Two free throws from the veteran put Milwaukee up 115-113 with 1:35 remaining, but Andrew Nembhard answered with a jumper to tie the game with 1:03 remaining.

After Middleton missed a contested shot on the other end, the Pacers ran down the shot clock. As the seconds ticked down, Haliburton dished to Pascal Siakam at the free throw line, who immediately passed to Aaron Nesmith in the left corner. Nesmith buried a three in front of the Bucks' bench to put the Pacers in front with 14.4 seconds to play.

The Bucks called timeout, then ran a play that got Middleton a look at the top of the arc, which he somehow banked in with 6.7 seconds remaining.

That's when Haliburton stepped into the hero's role, hitting a dramatic basket that proved to be the game-winner.

On the other end, Middleton didn't have an answer this time, as his 3-point heave from left wing came up short at the buzzer and the Pacers held on for a dramatic victory.

Turner led Indiana with 29 points and nine rebounds in the victory, going 10-for-21 from the field and 4-for-10 from 3-point range. Siakam added 17 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

The Pacers led by as many as 19 in the first half and didn't trail until under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. There were five lead changes and four ties over the next six minutes and the two teams were tied at 104 with four minutes to play on Friday.

Middleton banked in a fadeaway with 3:53 remaining, but the Pacers countered on the other end, with Haliburton driving and dishing to Turner for a slam.

Neither team scored over the next two minutes. After Nembhard missed a long three, Middleton corralled the rebound but stepped out of bounds on the sideline with 1:30 remaining while trying to push the ball up the floo.

After a timeout, the Pacers ran the shot clock down. Nesmith had to hoist a contested jumper at the buzzer. It missed, but Siakam came up with the rebound and Nembhard was fouled by Beverley with 56 seconds remaining.

The Pacers were in the bonus, so the second-year guard headed to the free throw line. He missed the first, but made the second to give Indiana a 107-106 lead.

On the other end, Lillard missed a jumper. Haliburton ran the shot clock down before hoisting a three from the right wing. He missed, but once again Siakam was in the right place, gathering the rebound and putting it back up through contact from Lillard with 19.8 seconds left. After a replay review confirmed the call, the 30-year-old forward missed a free throw that would have made it a two-possession game.

Middleton's layup with 9.6 seconds left kept Milwaukee's hopes alive and the visitors fouled Nesmith with 6.9 seconds remaining. The fourth-year forward ignored some barking from the Bucks' bench and confidently knocked down both shots from the charity stripe.

After a timeout, the Bucks inbounded to Brook Lopez at the top of the key who handed to Middleton. The four-time All-Star dribbled right and launched a deep three, that fell through the net to tie the game at 111 with 1.4 seconds remaining.

"We did have a scenario to foul and we just didn’t do it," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "He was so far out on the first one, we laid off and didn’t lunge at him. And then the second one was a similar situation. I know that question will come up. When those things go wrong, it’s on me. I take responsibility for that."

The Pacers took a timeout and inbounded to Siakam, but he couldn't get a three to fall from the left wing, sending the game into the extra session.

Middleton, who wasn't even cleared to play in Game 3 until a little over an hour before the game because of a sprained right ankle, was sensational for Milwaukee in the loss, finishing with 42 points on 16-of-29 shooting (4-of-9 from 3-point range), 10 rebounds, and five assists.

Lillard added 28 points and eight assists for the Bucks. The eight-time All-Star went just 6-for-20 from the field, but was 12-for-12 from the free throw line.

The Pacers jumped in front on their very first possession of Game 3, with Turner knocking down a three from the top of the key and the Blue & Gold methodically built their lead over the opening frame.

Haliburton attacked the basket on two straight possessions a few minutes in, first throwing down a two-handed dunk and then converting a tough finish in traffic to put Indiana up 14-8.

Obi Toppin checked in off the bench immediately after that sequence and made an immediate impact of his own, scoring 11 of Indiana's next 15 points while converting his first five shots.

The Bucks — already without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a calf injury — seemed to suffer another blow late in the first quarter when Lillard fell to the ground after converting a layup with 2:32 remaining in the frame. Lillard immediately grabbed his left knee and remained down as Toppin converted an alley-oop on the other end. He was helped to the locker room, but somehow returned to start the second quarter.

Still, the Pacers took advantage of Lillard's brief absence, extending their lead to as many as 19 points and taking a 39-22 lead into the second quarter.

Milwaukee mounted a charge in the second quarter, gradually chipping away at the margin and getting it to 49-39 on Brook Lopez's layup with 6:28 remaining in the first half. The Pacers responded on the next two possessions, with Haliburton finding Toppin for a three and then rookie guard Ben Sheppard converting a three-point play to push the lead back to 16.

But the Bucks kept coming, reeling off an 11-2 run capped by Middleton banking in a jumper to make it a 57-50 game with 3:22 to play before halftime.

The Pacers closed the half with a 10-5 spurt to build back some breathing room, capped by a memorable play by Haliburton, who flew in for a putback slam of an Nembhard miss to cap the scoring the first half.

It was a fitting close to a half where the Blue & Gold dominated the hustle categories, outscoring Milwaukee 20-6 in second-chance points.

Nembhard scored the first five points of the second half to push the lead to 17, but the Bucks once again clawed back. The visitors closed the frame with a 17-9 spurt — capped by a midrange jumper from Middleton at the buzzer — to trim their deficit to 90-83 entering the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee continued its surge in the fourth quarter, with Lillard drilling a deep three to make it 92-90 with 10:23 to play. That forced a timeout from Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, who went back to his starters, but Lillard swished another three on the Bucks' next possession to give them their first lead all night.

Bobby Portis' putback pushed Milwaukee's lead to 95-92 before Pascal Siakam righted the ship with four straight points to put Indiana back in front with 7:24 remaining.

The Bucks retook the lead briefly on a Middleton floater, but Haliburton answered with a stepback three with 6:01 remaining. On the other end, Lillard drew a foul and hit both free throws to tie the game at 99, but once again, Haliburton answered, this time with a runner at 5:14.

Lillard drew contact once again, converting both free throws to tie the game once again with 4:59 remaining. Portis and Turner then traded threes over the next minute, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.

"It was a lot of fun," Haliburton said. "A lot of energy in the building. Just a really fun game. Playing in overtime, like what more could you ask for? Really fun atmosphere and I look forward to playing another game here in a couple days."

Six Pacers finished in double figures in the win. Nembhard tallied 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Toppin scored 15 points off the bench. Nesmith had 13 points, eight boards, and three steals.

Portis finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds for Milwaukee. Lopez tallied 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while Beverley had 11 points, but fouled out on Haliburton's game-winner.

Neither team will have much time to rest, as they return to action on Sunday night at 7:00 PM ET for Game 4.

"We still have lofty goals in mind," Turner said. "I think that we’re excited about this win, but we also know that this game went into overtime on our home turf and anything is possible in this series. We have to be ready for all scenarios. We’re a very confident group, but I think we’re very realistic as well. We know the task we have at hand.

"We’re excited about the win, we’ll celebrate it tonight, but we’re literally right back to work tomorrow. 

Inside the Numbers

Turner's 29 points were a new playoff career high. He had scored 22 twice previously, including in Game 2 on Tuesday.

After scoring 36 and 37 in Games 1 and 2, Siakam only tallied 17 on Friday, but 11 came in the second half.

Middleton's 42 points were a new playoff career high. He previously scored 40 in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Finals against Phoenix on July 14, 2021.

The Pacers finished with 19 offensive rebounds to the Bucks' 11 and outscored Milwaukee 32-15 in second-chance points. Haliburton had five offensive rebounds, Siakam and Nesmith each had four, and Nembhard grabbed three.

Indiana's bench outscored Milwaukee's reserves 28-4. In addition to Toppin's 15 points, T.J. McConnell scored seven points and Sheppard added six for the Pacers.

Despite playing an extra five minutes, the Pacers had only eight turnovers all night.

Both teams struggled from 3-point range, with Indiana going 13-for-49 (26.5 percent) and Milwaukee finishing 10-for-31 (32.3 percent).

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Game 3) | April 26, 2024

You Can Quote Me On That

"That was unreal, bro. Don’t get me started. That was everything I hoped for. I wouldn’t say worth the five-year wait — I wish it was here sooner, but it was definitely just an amazing atmosphere to play in. Just for my family to be able to experience that this time of year, it was really cool. For the guys that haven’t been here for the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, this was a great introduction for them. It’s only going to get crazier. It was amazing. Just energetic the entire game, never really was any lows. It was cool." -Turner on getting to play a playoff game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the first time since 2019

"It’s big. Being able to defend your home court and give the fans what they want to see. We couldn’t have done it tonight without them, and we’ll need it again on Sunday. It’s good to get this momentum and carry it forward." -Nesmith on the fans

"I give our guys a lot of credit. As they gathered momentum, our guys stayed the course, they stayed strong, they kept battling. The offensive rebound count is the reason we were able to win the game. We had 19 offensive rebounds, which is a great number. Our guards were in their battling and Ty had five. There was some real guts to win this game." -Carlisle on the Pacers finding a way to win

"I think just the feel of the game and the energy within the crowd. Like I felt like we had a lot of energy, especially in that first half. Shots weren’t falling, so I knew I had to impact the game a different way. Today that was just rebounding. I want to put my imprint on the game any way I can." -Haliburton on his offensive rebounds

"It’s easy to check out of a game. I don’t care if it’s the playoffs, if you’re missing shots and you don’t feel involved, that’s when I think things can start to go badly. He never once gave into that…He just stayed the course. Those shots weren’t going in. I’ve never seen him crash the glass like this ever. He got up, he had a couple crazy dunks. I think he understands what time of year this is. Even defensively, he’s really moving, he’s very active, he’s using his length." -Turner on Haliburton’s impact

"Tyrese does what he does. We need him to be who he is, and that’s the player that he is. That’s the player that he can be. We’re just happy to have him on our side." -Nesmith on Haliburton

"I do a lot of film work, a lot of film study. We played these guys five times this year. I’ve watched every single game, just watched how they’ve guarded me on different occasions, even when they had Giannis out there guarding me. I looked at all scenarios and just tried to put myself in the best position to be successful. I made some shots these past couple games." -Turner on his strong offensive performance

"I haven’t been shooting the ball well, but I trust my work. I know I can shoot the ball. I’m going to continue to shoot it with confidence. That’s what happens when you trust your work – you make shots when it matters." -Nesmith on his three late in overtime

Stat of the Night

Haliburton became just the fourth player in Pacers NBA franchise history to record a triple-double in the playoffs. The three previous players to do it were Mark Jackson (May 13, 1998 against New York), Paul George (April 21, 2013 against Atlanta), and Victor Oladipo (April 27, 2018 against Cleveland).

Haliburton's 16 assists were also the second-most ever by a Pacer in the playoffs, trailing only Jackson's 17 at Cleveland on April 27, 1998.


  • Friday's game was the first playoff game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse a 110-106 loss to the Celtics in Game 4 of their first round series on April 21, 2019. It was the Blue & Gold's last home playoff victory was a 121-87 Game 6 rout of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 27, 2018.
  • Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, the number-one pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, "revved up" the crowd at the start of Game 3, receiving a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
  • In addition to Clark, the entire Fever team attended Game 3 (they open training camp on Sunday), as did former Pacers Derrick McKey and Metta World Peace, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy, and Colts players Anthony Richardson, Kenny Moore II, and E.J. Speed.

Up Next

The Pacers and Bucks will meet again at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for Game 4 on Sunday, April 28 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>