Second-half surge helps Pacers upset Bucks, win in Milwaukee for the first time since 2018
In the second half, the Pacers shot 70%, made 13 3s and outscored the Bucks by 25 points to earn their first-ever win at Fiserv Forum: 139-123.
The night began with disappointing news from the team.
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle announced that a right ankle sprain, suffered in practice on Wednesday, would keep All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, the heartbeat of the team, out for at least the next three games.
This was hours before the Pacers played the NBA’s best team and in a building where they had never won. And last time they met, the Bucks erupted for 85 first-half points.
See, the Pacers (32-38) helped the Bucks open up Fiserv Forum on Oct. 19, 2018. It was a Bucks 17-point win and they’ve dominated the series over the last five years.
That, along with the fact that the Pacers were without three rotation players and the Bucks have the NBA’s best record (50-20), made win No. 32 their best of the season.
As they often do, the Pacers got off to a poor start and recovered. They trailed 10-3 and 40-30 after 1, but then made some tweaks and outplayed the Bucks the rest of the way for a 139-123 win — snapping a 10-game losing streak to the Bucks.
“Not a great first half, but really a special second half,” Carlisle said after the game. “Our level of aggression, our attitude was much, much better just in terms of understanding how we needed to play to have a chance to hang and get a win here.”
To beat the Bucks, you must have success from beyond the arc. They want you to take 3s so if you’re not making them, good luck. That, among several other reasons, is why the Pacers have struggled over the years.
They shot 56% in the game, including 48% from 3-point range. They made 22 3s, twice as many as the Bucks — and that 33-point difference was too much for the Bucks to overcome. Even with potential NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 25 points despite battling foul trouble in the entire second half.
The Pacers’ second-half numbers were very impressive.
They outscored the Bucks by 25, shot 70% from the field and made 13 of 19 3s while being +7 on the glass and only committing four turnovers.
It was their best half of the season.