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Game Rewind: Pacers 99, Bucks 114

Game Recap

The Pacers and Bucks traded punches for much of Wednesday's Central Division clash in Milwaukee. But the Bucks blew the game open with a 21-0 run in the fourth quarter as the Pacers endured an untimely drought.

In the end, it was a 114-99 victory for the Pacers (19-11), even though the reigning NBA champions had only 10 available players due to injuries and the NBA's health and safety protocols.

It was the seventh straight road loss by double digits for the Pacers (12-18) in Milwaukee. Indiana was playing its first road game in over two weeks after a six-game homestand.

Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists in the loss. Caris LeVert also scored 16 for Indiana, though only two of those points came over the final three quarters.

Playing without All-Star forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the Bucks got off to a strong start thanks to their third-leading scorer, Jrue Holiday. Holiday scored the first five points and then added two assists as Milwaukee jumped out to an early 15-6 lead.

But LeVert took over to bring the Pacers back into the game. The Indiana swingman scored 14 of Indiana's first 20 points, hitting his first five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which tied the game at 20. A Malcolm Brogdon three and Sabonis hook shot subsequently capped a 19-5 run by the Blue & Gold.

The Bucks retook the lead briefly on Rodney Hood's 3-pointer with 48.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but Oshae Brissett's layup on the other end knotted the game at 33 entering the second quarter.

Milwaukee surged back ahead with a 7-0 burst midway through the ensuing frame and remained in front up until halftime, taking a 58-53 lead into the intermission.

The two teams went back-and-forth in a third quarter that featured 13 lead changes and six ties. The quarter was essentially a duel between Sabonis and Holiday, as each was the catalyst to their respective offenses.

Sabonis tallied 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists in the frame alone, while Holiday scored or assisted on eight of Milwaukee's first 11 field goals before subbing out at the two-minute mark.

Brissett's steal and slam gave Indiana an 87-85 lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter before Rodney Hood's layup ensured the game would be tied once again at the quarter break.

Indiana took a 92-91 lead on Justin Holiday's 3-pointer with 9:41 remaining in the fourth. But that would be their last basket for over seven minutes, as the Blue & Gold missed nine straight shots and committed five turnovers over that span.

The Bucks took full advantage of Indiana's cold spell, reeling off 21 unanswered points to put the game away. Kelan Martin's layup with 1:55 remaining broke a 7:46 scoring drought, but by then it was too late for any hope of a comeback.

Holiday had 26 points on 12-of-18 shooting and 14 assists to lead Milwaukee to victory. The Bucks were without three players, including Antetokounmpo, due to the NBA's health and safety protocols. Middleton, meanwhile, missed the game after his hyperextending his left knee in Monday's loss in Boston.

Myles Turner had 13 points, five rebounds, and five blocks for the Pacers. Fellow starters Brogdon (12 points, five rebounds, and five assists) and Chris Duarte (10 points) joined him in double figures.

Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton scored 20 points apiece for Milwaukee, while Jordan Nwora added 15 points and six boards.

The Pacers will return to Indianapolis to host Detroit on Thursday on the second night of a back-to-back. After that contest, the Blue & Gold will have four days off before returning to action next Tuesday in Miami.

Inside the Numbers

Sabonis recorded his eighth straight double-double and his 23rd this season, tied with New Orleans' Jonas Valanciunas for the most in the NBA.

Wednesday's game was Turner's fifth this season with five or more blocks.

The Bucks shot lights out from beyond the arc, making 14-of-29 3-point attempts. Connaughton led the way, going 4-for-5.

Holiday recorded his second double-double of the season for Milwaukee. His 14 assists were his most in a regular season game since he had the same number in a win at Indiana on May 13.

Stat of the Night

Wednesday's game featured 22 lead changes and 14 ties over the first 39 minutes, only for the Bucks to pull away down the stretch with their 21-0 run.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers have dropped seven straight games overall against the Bucks. They are also 0-7 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
  • Justin Holiday returned to action for Indiana for the first time since Nov. 29. The eldest Holiday brother, who had missed the past six games due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, had five points and two assists in just under 20 minutes off the bench.
  • Pacers forward Torrey Craig was inactive due to a non-COVID illness.
  • The Pacers are 0-6 so far this season when playing on the first night of a back-to-back.

Up Next

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »