The last time the Indiana Pacers (37-25) squared off against the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-9), T.J. Warren scored 35 points in Indiana’s 118-111 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 12. The win snapped the Blue and Gold’s six-game losing streak. Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out because of his son’s birth.
This time around, the Greek Freak was back. The game was also at Fiserv Forum, where Milwaukee has won 27 of its 30 games this season.
The outcome was rather predictable. Antetokounmpo was his usual dominant self, scoring 29 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and recording 12 assists in a lopsided 119-100 Bucks win. The loss snapped Indy’s four-game winning streak.
Milwaukee stormed out of the gate with a commanding 25-6 lead in the first quarter with Antetokounmpo scoring seven points during that run.
The Pacers’ lone shining moment came in the second quarter when they outscored the Bucks, 33-22. T.J. Warren, Indiana’s leading scorer (18.6 ppg) went off for 14 points during that span. Sharpshooter Doug McDermott scored nine points in the same duration. With Warren and McDermott firing on all cylinders, Indy trailed by just two at halftime, 58-56.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee stepped on the gas in the fourth quarter. Point guard Eric Bledsoe scored eight points during a decisive 12-2 run to put the Bucks up by 20. The lead ballooned to as many as 28 points in the game’s final moments.
Khris Middleton complemented Antetokounmpo nicely with 20 points and eight rebounds. Bledsoe finished with 16 points and seven assists. Former Pacer Wesley Matthews scored 15 points for Milwaukee.
Warren led the Pacers with 18 points. McDermott contributed 16 markers while big man Domantas Sabonis finished with a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) – his 48th of the season.
Sabonis Leads Depleted Pacers to Road Win Over Bulls
Despite the Indiana Pacers (38-25) missing the services of T.J. Warren (sore left leg), Malcolm Brogdon (sore left hip), Doug McDeromott (sore right big toe), and Jeremy Lamb (out for the year with a torn ACL), All-Star power forward Domantas Sabonis remained undaunted.
Sabonis scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 108-102 win over the hapless Chicago Bulls (21-42) at the United Center on March 6. Sabonis’ 49th double-double puts him in a tie with Troy Murphy for the franchise record.
After the Blue and Gold established a slim 29-25 lead after 12 minutes, they poured it on in the second quarter. Victor Oladipo, Edmond Sumner, and JaKarr Sampson joined forces in a 17-4 run to put the Pacers up 62-46 at halftime.
Sampson, a former Bull, has had several highlight-reel dunks in Chicago this season. He had two dunks in a span of 37 seconds in the second quarter to the delight of Pacers fans in attendance.
Indiana increased its lead to 23 points in the third quarter. Oladipo scored on a layup to make it 73-50. Nonetheless, the Bulls, who missed the services of leading scorerf Zach LaVine (injured quad), fought back.
Shaquille Harrison’s two consecutive three-pointers whittled the Pacers’ lead to just seven at 99-92. However, Myles Turner’s two free throws and Oladipo’s 15-foot jumper doused cold water on the rally. The win was Indiana’s fifth in its last six games.
Oladipo and Turner scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, for the Pacers. Turner also contributed eight rebounds and four blocks. Sampson (14 points) and Sumner (12 points) stepped up big-time off the bench.
Rookie Coby White led the Bulls with 26 points. Harrison finished with 25.
Sabonis’ 50th Double-Double Helps Pacers Edge Mavericks
It didn’t take long for All-Star power forward to set the franchise record for double-doubles.
The 23-year-old Sabonis scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for his 50th career double-double – the most in Pacers NBA franchise history – in a 112-109 win over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on March 8.
Victor Oladipo ‘s 17-foot jumper from the right wing with 38.3 seconds left in the game gave the Blue and Gold a one-point lead. Oladipo then nailed the insurance free throws 25 seconds later. The charities capped off a game-ending 8-0 run for the Pacers.
Luka Doncic, who had a triple-double of 38 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, missed two three-pointers in the dying seconds for Dallas. Doncic was irate at the officials after he claimed they missed several obvious calls against Edmond Sumner and Oladipo during the game.
The Pacers have now gone 7-2 since the All-Star break. It was also their fourth straight road win.
Indiana, which was without Malcolm Brogdon, Doug McDermott, and Jeremy Lamb, led for the most part. The Mavericks didn’t lead until the 9:33 mark of the fourth quarter on Justin Jackson’s triple.
Behind the exploits of Doncic and Tim Hardaway, Jr., Dallas established a late 109-104 lead. However, Sabonis and Oladipo collaborated on the decisive 8-0 run for the Pacers’ 39th win of the season.
Oladipo, T.J. Warren, and Dallas native Myles Turner all scored 16 points for the Pacers. Turner also added 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Hardaway scored 30 points for the Mavericks’ cause. Kristaps Porzingis, who earlier torched the Pacers for 36 points in a 112-103 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 3, finished with just nine points on an abysmal 3-of-17 shooting clip.
Pacers Odds Trend Down Against Boston Celtics
The Indiana Pacers (39-25) seek their third straight win and eighth in their past 10 games when they take on the Boston Celtics (42-21) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the third-seeded Celtics have blown hot and cold – they have gone 5-5 in their past 10 games. They have lost four of their past five games.
Should the Pacers win, they will solidify their hold of the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed. They currently have a one-game lead over the sixth-place Philadelphia 76ers (38-26).
The last time the Pacers and Celtics met, Malcolm Brogdon scored 29 points in a 112-117 Indiana victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 11. Celtics point guard Kemba Walker went off for 44 points in a losing effort.
Entering Tuesday night’s showdown, both Victor Oladipo (knee) and Doug McDermott (toe) remain questionable. Brogdon remains week-to-week with a torn left quadriceps.
As for Boston, shooting guard Jaylen Brown will sit out Tuesday’s game due to a hamstring injury. Center Robert Williams III is probable despite a back strain.
Despite their recent slide, the Celtics remain the favorites to beat the home squad. Pacers odds (+2.5), Pacers moneyline (+110), and Pacers over/under (U 214.5) trend down against Indiana because of Boston’s better record and healthier lineup.