Pacers blew money and get first series win since 2014

For the first time in a decade, the Indiana Pacers have won a playoff series. Indiana hosted the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night in Game 6 of their first-round series, and thanks to some unexpected heroes off the bench, the Pacers were able to pull out a 120-98 victory to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference. Semi-finals.

Milwaukee looked like it was locked in and buoyed by the return of Damian Lillard early in the game, when they were able to race out to a 10-3 lead that temporarily silenced the crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. But for the rest of the period, the play of Tyrese Haliburton and Obi Toppin – along with a long stretch that included 10 unanswered points at one point – helped keep them in control of the game.

The pair combined for 19 of Indiana’s 33 points in the frame, and while they weren’t as scorching in the second quarter, the Pacers were still able to extend their lead over their division rivals. While Indiana wasn’t able to get hot from behind the three-point line, their ability to get out and run was a big problem for Milwaukee – the Pacers outscored them on transition points, 14-2, and were plus. -10 on points in the paint.

Add to that the fact that Indiana’s bench strangled Milwaukee’s bench by a 19-1 margin, and everything seemed to break the Pacers’ path. The team took a 59-47 lead into the locker room at halftime, with Haliburton’s 15 points, five rebounds and four assists leading the way. Aaron Nesmith had 12, while Toppin scored 11. While Milwaukee got a total of 28 points from Lillard and Brook Lopez – each of whom had 14 – they went just 16-for-45 from the field and 2-for-13 from three. so their offense really struggled to keep up.

Things started to get heated in the third quarter as Bobby Portis and James Johnson picked up technical fouls for some jawing during a timeout.

But ultimately, the Pacers could do enough to expand their cushion at the end of the frame. While the Bucks were able to cut the lead to seven points after a Lopez layup with 1:05 to go, Indiana tacked on eight straight points at the end of the frame, giving them a 93–78 lead over way to the fourth.

The crowd was super pumped early in the fourth quarter due to the play of an unlikely hero, TJ McConnell, who scored seven of the team’s first 11 points and drove the building absolutely crazy.

All of this ultimately became too much for Milwaukee to overcome. The team could not get within 14 points at any point in the fourth, and with more than two minutes remaining and the Pacers leading by twenty, Doc Rivers made the decision to withdraw his starters completely. By the time the clock hit zero, the entire building was on its feet and the inevitable was being celebrated.

Toppin’s 21 points and eight rebounds off the bench led Indiana, while McConnell went for 20 points, nine dimes and four steals. Among the Pacers’ starters, Pascal Siakam’s 19 points were the most, while Haliburton had a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists. For Milwaukee, Lillard had 28 points, while both Lopez and Portis went for 20.

While the Bucks (who missed the full series due to injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo) enter an offseason where they have some questions to answer, the Pacers can now take a longer look at Thursday’s game between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers. closely, as they will play the winner of that series in the next round. The Knicks currently have a 3-2 series lead, but Game 6 will take place in Philly.