Bucks 117, Pacers 98: Last Word

Milwaukee | The Milwaukee Bucks put an end to their two-game losing streak with a commanding 117-98 win over the Indiana Pacers on national television Thursday night.

Player of the game: Giannis Antetokounmpo

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I like to look for different players to give this to but it’s so hard not to go with the MVP candidate. Giannis finished with a game-high 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Pacers forward Thaddeus Young talked about how Giannis took over after being given a technical foul with under six minutes to go in the third quarter.

I think the turning point was when Giannis got the [technical foul]. The next play down, he imposed his will. He got a foul on me, got a dunk, and another dunk after that. I think that was the change in the game. We were coming back and actually in the game. That spurt put us down 10 or 12.

Giannis continues to come up huge in big moments and build his case for this season’s NBA MVP. If I had a vote (unfortunately I don’t) he would get my vote.

Play of the game: Giannis’ technical foul & Giannis dunk on Turner

I had to go with two for Thursday night’s “play of the game” because I couldn’t pick just one of these. First, Giannis was hit with a technical foul after arguing a blown-call on the previous possession. This sparked a 13-0 run as Milwaukee closed the quarter outscoring the Pacers 17-7. Until this play, the Bucks seemed a little flat throughout. The crowd at Fiserv Forum wasn’t fully invested and was uncharacteristically quiet through the first half of the game. It swung the momentum Milwaukee’s way and they didn’t look back.

Second, “Angry Giannis” did his best to hurt the ego of Myles Turner. He threw down a nasty dunk just a few possessions after he was T’d up.

The good: The finish

Milwaukee led by just four points (54-50) at the half. They flipped a switch midway through the third quarter and carried their high-energy play into the final frame. The Bucks outscored the Pacers 63-48 in the second-half. They were scorching hot from the field in the fourth quarter converting on 14-22 (63.6%) shots. We’ve seen this before from the Bucks. Sometimes they allow a team to hang around for a while but can go to another level and put teams away. The Golden State Warriors have been doing this for years.

The not so good: First-half Turnovers

It was a sloppy start for the Bucks offensively. They failed to take care of the ball turning it over nine times in the first half. Giannis had a lot of trouble early on operating against the Pacers’ stingy defense. He was responsible for three turnovers during the first two quarters.

Milwaukee committed just four turnovers in the second half finishing with 13 for the game.

The weird: Sterling Brown is good at geography

A fan had to race Brown in naming 50 states in 30 seconds. The fan put up a great effort naming 25 states, but it wasn’t even close to enough. Brown named all 50 states in 30 seconds in a video played during a timeout. He did it in a random order with no repeats. I highly doubt I could name 50 states even if you gave me the entire day to do it. Now, that’s impressive.

https://twitter.com/Bucks/status/1103837928936099841

After the game, Brown explained how he pulled it off.

Stat of the game: 50%

As a team, the Bucks shot 43-86 (50%) from the field. They improved to 21-1 this season when shooting 50% or better. The Bucks have out-shot their opponent in 49 games this season and own a 47-2 record in those contests. When they are on, they are tough to beat.

What they said:

Budenholzer on the win

I thought the ball movement, us sharing the ball, trusting the pass, trusting our teammates against a good defensive team, is what you have to do. I think when we have both ends of the court and raise our standards defensively and we play with each other and unselfishly like we did in the second half, good things happen. I’m pleased with the win.

Bledsoe on the difference between Thursday’s game with the last two

Nobody panicked. We lost two games but at the same time we have been in a position where we have done that before. We pulled out the win and congrats to my brother Khris.

Giannis on closing out the game

I’m just trying to play with energy. Down the stretch [Eric] Bledsoe and Khris [Middleton] did a great job of just finding me.

In case you missed it:

*Milwaukee improved its NBA-best home record to 26-5 with their third straight home win. The Bucks also improved their league-best overall record to 49-16.

*Thursday’s win secured a 3-1 season series win for the Bucks over the Pacers. They are now 13-1 against the Central Division, which is the best record for any team against its own division this season.

*The Bucks have now won an NBA-high 36 games this season by 10+ points, with 21 of those victories coming by 15+ points.

*Giannis recorded his NBA-high 35th game of the season scoring 25+ points and 10+ rebounds.

*This is Middleton’s fifth game of the season scoring 25+ points on 50% or better shooting, and his fourth 20-point game in his last seven contests.

What’s next?

The Bucks (49-16) will host the Charlotte Hornets (29-35) on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm.

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