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Pacers final score: Pacers stun Bucks 139-123

Indiana hit 13 second half threes to chase down and close out Milwaukee, picking up their first win over the Bucks since 2020. Andrew Nembhard led the way with 24 points.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers came alive in the second half, dropping 84 points against the Milwaukee Bucks to pull off a surprising win, snapping a 10-game losing streak against their division foes. The Pacers led 3-2 to open the game, but that appeared to be all Indiana had for much of the night, quickly falling behind by double figures and allowing 40 points in the first quarter.

Despite finding themselves in a familiar spot against Milwaukee, Indiana did well to keep the game from ever spiraling out of control. The Bucks never led by more than 14 points tonight even after going up 16-5 in the opening minutes. That largely appeared to be a moral victory through two and a half quarters, but in fact, proved the difference when the Pacers closed the third quarter on a 27-11 run, taking a three-point lead into the fourth.

The Bucks cut the deficit to one on a Wesley Matthews three, but Indiana’s backcourt of Andrew Nembhard and George Hill responded with nine straight points to push the lead into double figures. Though Milwaukee attempted to make some pushes, Indiana’s guards kept the game out of reach, setting up Myles Turner to sink in the dagger, knocking in a three and then throwing it down over Giannis Antetokounmpo to give Indiana the victory.

The dunk had to feel great for Turner, who had struggled throughout the night with foul trouble against Antetokounmpo, who himself had gotten in a big time dunk earlier in the quarter. He ended the eighth Pacer in double figures, scoring 11 with eight rebounds in a total team effort for the blue and gold.

Hill was a key player off the bench tonight, scoring a season high 15 against the team that traded him last month. Hill knocked in two threes in the first half to bring the Pacers back into it in the second quarter before scoring five huge points early in the fourth to keep the Bucks from ever taking a lead, even getting in his own dunk at the tail end of the third.

The Pacers shot 19-26 from the field in the third quarter, scoring 49 points in the process. That included eight threes in the quarter on 64% shooting. That didn’t slow down much in the fourth with the Pacers knocking down five more threes, shooting 67% overall in the quarter.

Nembhard led the way in that stretch, scoring 21 second half points after getting off to a slow start in the first quarter, missing his first five shots. He had 11 in the fourth quarter alone, showcasing a newfound finishing touch, dropping in four layups at the rim.

He also hit four threes, joining six Pacers with multiple made threes. The Pacers shot 13-19 from three in the second half, three coming from Aaron Nesmith. Nesmith knocked down six on the night, scoring 22 points, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the corners. Indiana was 9-12 on corner threes tonight, helping them to 22 makes on 46 attempts.

T.J. McConnell got in on the shooting, knocking down a three of his own to finish with 19 points on 9-12 shooting. McConnell’s play against the Bucks this season has been impressive, including 12 assists to the docket to complete his fifth double double of the season. Buddy Hield led the starters with six assists, shooting well himself to finish with 20, getting there on 8-11 shooting, 3-5 from deep.

Jalen Smith meanwhile logged some key minutes with Turner on the bench with foul trouble, scoring 14 points with eight rebounds, hitting a three, and leading the Pacers at the line on a night they shot just 9-15 overall. Jordan Nwora also played well in his return to Milwaukee, overcoming a slow start to finish with 12, knocking down the go-ahead three at the end of the third quarter.

The win improves Indiana to 32-38 on the year, back to within a half game of the play-in spot with 12 games remaining. They’ll return home for a single night, hosting the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday before heading back out on the road for four games.