Game Rewind: Pacers 109, Bucks 119

Game Recap

The Pacers showed some resilience on Monday night against a team that has had their number lately. Indiana rallied from an 18-point deficit against Milwaukee to climb within five midway through the fourth quarter.

But in the end, the defending champions withstood the test, as the Bucks (3-1) held on for a 119-109 win over the Pacers (1-3) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Milwaukee has won five straight and 10 of the last 12 meetings with Indiana.

Malcolm Brogdon scored a team-high 25 points and dished out seven assists in the loss. Domantas Sabonis added 21 points, 13 boards, and five assists, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Bucks' stars.

Giannis Antetokounmpo came up one assist shy of a triple-double, tallying a game-high 30 points, 10 boards, and nine assists while going 10-for-18 from the field and 10-for-13 from the free throw line. Khris Middleton added 27 points, five rebounds, and seven assists for the Bucks in the victory.

"We've just got to defend better," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've got to put ourselves in a position to make it crowded (in the paint). They've got an all-time great player with a bunch of 3-point snipers around him and we didn't do a good job of showing a crowd and getting to the 3-point shooters. But he's a unique player and he causes unique problems."

As expected, Antetokounmpo carried the load for the Bucks early. The reigning Finals MVP attacked the rim in the opening minutes, scoring eight of Milwaukee's first 12 points and drawing two quick fouls on Pacers center Myles Turner.

Once Antetokounmpo subbed out for the first time, however, the Blue & Gold mounted a charge. Brogdon, Oshae Brissett, and Jeremy Lamb all hit 3-pointers over an 11-4 Indiana run to take a 23-18 lead.

But Sabonis picked up his second foul at the 4:06 mark. With both of the Pacers' starting bigs on the bench, third-year center Goga Bitadze saw his first action of the season. The 6-11 Georgian scored seven quick points and pulled down four rebounds in his first action of the season to help keep the Pacers afloat.

The two teams were tied at 30 entering the closing seconds, but Bitadze fouled Middleton on a corner three attempt. Middleton hit the shot and the subsequent free throw to complete the four-point play and give Milwaukee a 34-30 advantage entering the second quarter.

The Bucks built on that lead in the ensuing frame, pushing the margin as high as 11 before rookie guard Chris Duarte finally gave the home crowd some life.

Duarte hit a 3-pointer at 4:25. Grayson Allen knocked down a trey of his own on the other end, but Duarte came right back down, crossed up Antetokounmpo, and drilled a step-back jumper. Indiana then strung together some stops, as a Sabonis dunk, Brodgon jumper, and spinning Sabonis layup trimmed the deficit to 60-57 and forced a Bucks timeout with 2:19 left in the half.

But Milwaukee regrouped out of the timeout, scoring the final six points before halftime to push the lead back to nine.

The Bucks didn't left off the gas in the third quarter, either. The visitors used an 11-2 run to extend the margin to 18 with 4:43 remaining in the half.

The Blue & Gold made one charge, as Justin Holiday, T.J. McConnell, and Lamb all hit threes during an 11-4 subsequent Pacers run. But the hosts couldn't get within single digits the rest of the frame, as Milwaukee took a 101-86 lead into the fourth quarter.

Indiana once again came to life in the fourth quarter. Five straight points from Duarte helped spur a 9-0 Indiana run and made it a 105-97 game with just over seven minutes remaining. Holiday's 3-pointer at 6:21 cut the deficit to five.

But the Bucks answered with five straight points — including a three from Pat Connaughton that bounced off the rim and in — to push the lead back to 10 with 4:54 remaining and the Pacers never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

"We are doing a lot of great things in every game," Sabonis said after the loss. "We've just got to build on it. We've just got to be consistent throughout the whole game.

"Today I just feel like we didn't bring the extra energy we needed. The defending champs are in here, there shouldn't be no excuses for any kind of motivation."

Duarte finished with 18 points and five rebounds in the loss, while Holiday added 12 points and three steals, going 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. Lamb chipped in 11 points off the bench.

Allen had 19 points for Milwaukee, going 4-for-9 from 3-point range, while Connaughton added 13 points and seven boards.

The Pacers will hit the road for their next two games, heading to Toronto on Wednesday and Brooklyn on Friday before returning to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to tip off a three-game homestand on Saturday against the Raptors.

Inside the Numbers

Duarte reached double figures for the fourth straight game to start his career. He has scored 15 or more points in every game this season.

Sabonis tallied his third double-double in four games to start the season.

Lamb reached double figures for the second straight game. After tallying just three points in the season opener in Charlotte, he's averaged 10.7 points over the past three contests.

The Bucks outscored Indiana 24-6 in fastbreak points and 22-6 in points off turnovers.

Milwaukee got to the free throw line 14 more times and scored 11 more points at the charity stripe. The Bucks went 26-for-31, while the Pacers were 15-for-17 from the foul line.

You Can Quote Me On That

"You've got to always try to play from in front against better teams. We were able to do it against Miami (on Saturday) because we were able to get traction defensively and we were doing some good things on offense. But tonight, (there was) just not enough defensive consistency." -Carlisle

"We weren't as physical and as locked in to what we're supposed to do...It's the beginning of the season. We're still trying to figure this out as a unit. We've shown that we can be a good defensive team and I think we will be." -Holiday

"Good teams, teams that finish the season well, they stick through it. They understand that it's a journey. It's not a moment. It's not one game, it's not two games. You've got to see the big picture." -Brogdon

"He's a big part of their team and one of the main focuses. I feel like guarding him is a team effort. Everybody has to load, everybody has to have each other's back. For the first three quarters, we just didn't have that edge that we had against Miami or that we're trying to build." -Sabonis on matching up with Antetokounmpo

"Chris is a natural scorer. He's going to be a high, high-level scorer in the NBA because he does that, he does it easily. But shots don't fall every night, even for the Kobe Bryants of the world. You've got to figure out a way to still get your teammates involved and still be effective on the floor. That's going to be his next step." -Brogdon on his advice to Duarte

Stat of the Night

The Bucks outscored Indiana 58-34 in points in the paint en route to the win.


  • Carlisle picked up a technical for arguing with the referees with 28 seconds left in the first quarter. Bitadze and Bucks guard George Hill were both assessed technicals after confronting each during a loose ball scrum with 5:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.
  • The Pacers have now dropped their last two games against the Bucks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. They have also lost six straight in Milwaukee.
  • Among those in attendance at Monday's game were Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox, 14-time Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut, and San Diego Padres pitcher James Norwood.

Up Next

The Pacers head to Toronto for the start of a two-game road trip. The Pacers and Raptors will tip off on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 PM ET.


The Pacers will tip off a three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 30, when they host Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »