Indiana Pacers begin 2024 with a stunning away victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers
Source – | Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers

On Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers squared off to begin 2024 for both clubs. The two teams have not faced one other since their altercation during a game in Milwaukee last month. The contest between the two teams was starting to take on an emotional dimension.

This season, the Bucks and Pacers have already met three times; they will meet again on Wednesday. Five games in less than two months will inevitably result in increased intensity. Starting off well was going to be important for both teams.

With the setback, Milwaukee’s 15-game home winning run was snapped.

With 11 assists and 13 rebounds, respectively, Haliburton and Mathurin both had a double-double. Nine rebounds and 18 points were contributed by Isaiah Jackson.

Milwaukee was the team that dominated the first part of the game. Indiana’s first possession of the ball was 2/10 as the Bucks were ahead 14-4. In less than four minutes, Jalen Smith was 1/5 for the blue and gold, and the squad wasn’t producing high-quality shots overall.

After his team was behind by ten points at 6:58 in the first quarter, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle called a timeout. After a messy beginning, they had to start over.

With his third triple-double of the year, Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 30 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 assists. Damian Lillard scored 13 points on a dismal shooting night (3-for-16 overall), while Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez each scored 21 points.

The opening half of the game was a runfest, with Milwaukee jumping out to a lead of up to 15 points in the first quarter.

The Pacers retaliated whenever the Bucks made a punch. After Indiana went on an 11-3 run to close the first quarter, they seized the lead in the second quarter. However, Milwaukee scored seven of the last nine points of the first half to lead by 62 points at the half.

The halt did nothing to improve the situation. Over the following five minutes, Indiana improved a little bit, putting pressure on the basket and combining several stops. However, it wasn’t sufficient to narrow the deficit. Actually, the reverse occurred. With 2:47 left in the first quarter, the Bucks had gone on a 15–10 run and were ahead by fifteen.

For the Pacers, it was going to be critical to finish the quarter strong. After a couple three-pointers, they were able to cut the margin to nine, but the game’s first altercation occurred late in the first quarter.

Following a rebound tussle between Bobby Portis and Isaiah Jackson, there was a brief altercation between the two teams on the floor. On Portis, it was declared a common foul.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in the first half with 16 points and 8 rebounds. With 12 points, Mathurin led Indiana, followed by Haliburton with 8 points and 6 assists.

After a jumper by Lillard, Milwaukee utilised a 9-0 run to retake the lead by 15 points at 82-67, but with 1:51 remaining in the fourth, Mathurin’s floater put the Pacers within 84-80.

In the fourth, Indiana gradually distanced itself. Haliburton finished the quarter with nine points and T.J. McConnell with twelve. With 1:20 left in the quarter, Haliburton converted a three-point play to give the Pacers a 116-109 lead.

The Bucks led by seven at the end of the quarter. The Pacers second unit benefited from significant minutes from T.J. McConnell and Benedict Mathurin, who helped cut into the Milwaukee advantage.

With more aggressive play early in the second quarter, the Pacers were able to reduce their disadvantage. Two minutes later, Milwaukee’s lead had shrunk to four. Even though McConnell was called for a technical foul early in the game, he was still making major plays.

The Bucks managed to go as close as six the remainder of the way.

Even though they shot remarkably poorly from long range, the Pacers managed to remain in the game. Indiana had the second-best 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA going into Monday’s game (39 percent), but it only shot 5-for-35 (14.3 percent) from beyond the arc against Milwaukee.

Adrian Gryphon, the head coach of the Bucks, called a timeout after a layup by Mathurin trimmed the deficit to two. His squad had to reorganise to counter Indiana’s paint pressure as their 15-point lead was almost gone.

The blue and gold quickly tied the game at thirty-five. They had to keep their foot on the accelerator and ride their momentum to a lead since their slow start was over.

The Pacers took their first lead of the evening on an Aaron Nesmith three-point play on the next possession. They were instantly clicking on all fronts.

For the following few minutes, the two teams exchanged punches, with the lead changing hands several times. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard checked in for the Bucks with 6:37 remaining in the half and Indiana leading by four points. The two celebrities intended to attempt to alter the game.

Giving Milwakee fresh life didn’t take them long. The Bucks were back in the lead at 49-47 less than two minutes later, forcing the Pacers to call a timeout. When the stars of the home team were on the floor, Indiana had to figure out a way to stay competitive.

Towards the end of the first half, they were unable to accomplish so. Indiana was put under pressure by Lillard and Antetokounmpo, who went on a significant run that culminated with a 21-11 victory. Milwaukee was up six points at the half, 62–56. At the half, Mathurin led the Pacers with 12 points.