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Fast start fuels Pacers past Bucks 109-96

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Indiana used a 20-0 first quarter run to blow out Milwaukee at home. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 17 points. Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Thaddeus Young scored 15.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers put together another impressive performance at home, getting revenge on the Milwaukee Bucks for their second straight win. The Pacers stormed out to a fast start, with high energy plays on both ends of the floor allowing the Pacers to ride a 20-0 run late in the first quarter en route to a 37-16 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Pacers had a ferocious start to the game not only with the 20-0 run, but in doing so by forcing eight Milwaukee turnovers, leading to 11 Indiana points. The Pacers had five steals and four blocks to lead the defensive effort, but came with a force and purpose offensively.

Thaddeus Young led the charge for the Pacers, scoring 11 of his 15 in the first quarter. Young has struggled offensively in recent games, averaging just 6.1 points per game on 37% shooting in the last eight games, but did a great job putting himself in position to succeed early with baskets around the rim.

Young being the recipient of passes was a staple of Indiana’s success tonight, as the Pacers finished with 30 on the night. Nine of the 10 players in the rotation notched an assist, led by Darren Collison with seven, going along with his 11 points. The energy of the second unit closed the first quarter strong, with Lance Stephenson finding the rookie T.J. Leaf for a flashy dish and finish.

The Pacers continued their strong play in the second quarter, pushing their lead to 27 and responding well to any push the Bucks made as Indiana wrapped up the half up 64-38. The Pacers shot 64% in the first half while holding the Bucks to just 33% from the floor.

Holding the Bucks to just 33% from the floor included making Giannis Antetokounmpo a non-factor throughout the half. Antetokounmpo scored just seven points on 1-5 shooting. The most success Antetokounmpo found on the night was in getting to the free throw line, where he was 5-8 in the first half.

Indiana maintained their lead through the third quarter, but the Bucks began to stage a late push in the fourth quarter. First the 29-point lead was trimmed to 20, then again it was trimmed to 10. In that process, even with time largely on their side, Nate McMillan kept playing within Indiana’s regular rotation, leading to Domantas Sabonis to take a hard fall on his wrist.

Sabonis didn’t appear phased with the fall after leading the Pacers in scoring with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but it proved to be a dangerous gamble even as the Bucks pushed themselves back to within sight of the rearview mirror. Victor Oladipo, who scored 15 himself, took a couple of falls himself, one on the Sabonis play, another halfway through in the third, which didn’t phase him after gathering himself and eyeing the camera.

The Pacers had seven double figure scorers, including all five in the starting lineup. Myles Turner had 15 and six rebounds with three first quarter blocks, doing plenty of work inside with 10 of those points coming in the paint. Bojan Bogdanoivc scored six of his 11 in the paint with Indiana as a team putting in 60 points in the paint, outscoring Milwaukee by 18.

Indiana held advantages in fast break points (24-16) as well as bench scoring (42-25). Aall five second unit players scoring led by Sabonis, but also featuring a 10 point night from Cory Joseph and five from Joe Young. Leaf had four.

The Pacers will look to stay perfect in their home stand when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Tonight’s game pushed Indiana to 21-19 and to within a half game of Milwaukee in the standings. Miami has four straight games and currently sit at 22-17, giving the Pacers another prime opportunity to gain on the teams playing ahead of them in the standings.