Though the Indiana Pacers played about as competitively as they have recently against the Milwaukee Bucks, that moral victory was all they were able to take away in a game that wound up getting completely away from them in the second half. The Pacers led for only 26 seconds tonight, the inability to do anything with it led to a third quarter showing that put it away for good.
Indiana allowed 39 points in the third quarter after holding Milwaukee to just 26 each in the first two. After scoring on the opening basket of the third to make it a 52-50 game, Milwaukee simply inched their lead back up, going up by as many as 17 in the quarter. Indiana did some up with 27, but didn’t score consecutive buckets once, which of course isn’t going to help in winning any quarter.
The Pacers got some lift early from their three point shooting, hitting six in the opening frame, but in doing so, were limited to just two points in the paint. To no real surprise, that proved unstainable for the Pacers, who would go on to be outscored 62-36 in the paint while taking over 40 attempts from three.
Three point attempts weren’t the only thing keeping the Pacers from finding success inside; simply making shots inside the arc proved too tall an order. Indiana shot 1-5 in the paint in the first quarter and still fell below 50% in the second and third quarters. Indiana’s bigs were played out of tonight’s game, with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner combining for six points on 2-12 shooting before being benched in the fourth.
Caris LeVert did provide a much needed spark for the Pacers offense tonight, scoring 23 points on 9-13 shooting, including 4-5 from three point range. It was another positive outing for LeVert, who has gone 7-12 from deep in the last two games after dropping to just 21% shooting to open the season.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points, but in tasked with guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo, it was a bit of a disappointment he wound up being the second highest scorer. Justin Holiday, T.J. McConnell, and Chris Duarte each reached double figures, but only at 10 each. Holiday did provide some of the best defense of the night, blocking both of Indiana’s shots.
The loss drops Indiana back to four under .500 as they continue to languish in 13th place in the East. They fall to 1-2 in their three game home stand, opening up a six-game stretch at home starting on Wednesday. In the interim, they’ll have a road back-to-back tomorrow night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have won six of seven heading into today.