Giannis, Bucks Cruise Past Domantas Sabonis, Pacers 119-100

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2020

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 04:  Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Domantas Sabonis #11 of the Indiana Pacers during the first half of a game at Fiserv Forum on March 04, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks inched a bit closer to reaching 70 wins on Wednesday night with a 119-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers. 

Nearly a month after the Pacers defeated a Milwaukee team without Giannis Antetokounmpo in Indianapolis, 118-111, the Bucks returned the favor with Victor Oladipo sidelined for Indiana. The Pacers star shooting guard had been experiencing swelling in his knee and was downgraded to out hours before the game. 

In his absence, Domantas Sabonis was tasked with leading the charge against the NBA's top team. He wasn't enough.

Indiana snapped a four-game winning streak, but having won six of the last eight contests, it entered the night just two games back of the Miami Heat for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, which would guarantee home-court advantage for at least the first round of the postseason. 

Milwaukee bounced back strong after an uncharacteristic loss by 16 to Miami on Monday as Antetokounmpo led the way with 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Notable Performers

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Bucks: 29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists
  • Khris Middleton, SF, Bucks: 20 points, eight rebounds
  • Domantas Sabonis, PF, Pacers: 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists 
  • T.J. Warren, SF, Pacers: 18 points, four rebounds 


Bucks Pour On Points Late

Leave it to the Bucks (53-9) to find new ways to challenge themselves. 

Milwaukee opened up on a 25-6 run over the first seven minutes of game in what appeared to be an end-to-end blowout. The Pacers closed that gap by halftime. 

After Indiana (37-25) tied things up at 60 only 90 seconds into the third quarter, the Bucks piled on the points to get the lead back up to 28 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

The best of the Greek Freak: 29 PTS | 12 REB | 6 AST | 28 MIN https://t.co/25leUCSAiy

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Full court. Half court. Any court. https://t.co/pp8zAziX1U

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

100 ☑️ https://t.co/2dhnuUjTxI

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

KHA$H. https://t.co/rurbC2Gdzp

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

1 Giannis vs. 4 Pacers. https://t.co/LxDUGFMQ7x

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

The Big Ragu likes his pasta al dente. https://t.co/3HXs2oqJ55

The Pacers were shell-shocked. The Bucks had barely seemed to break a sweat. Four Milwaukee starters scored at least 15 points with only Brook Lopez (three points) failing to reach double digits. 

Yes, the Pacers were down Oladipo—and later Brogdon—but they're still a formidable opponent with Sabonis, Myles Turner and T.J. Warren pacing the offense. Milwaukee made them all shrink on Wednesday. 

This was a clear flex by the league's best team after a brutal loss to the Heat on Monday, and now the Bucks continue their streak of not dropping back-to-back games this season.

That's trouble for any team hoping to defeat them in a seven-game playoff series. 


Brogdon Exits Early In Loss

The one thing the Indiana Pacers couldn't afford Wednesday night was another injury to a key player. A loss to the Bucks is possible to overcome. A starter going down is much tougher.

The Pacers were dealt both. Starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who was acquired by Indiana over the summer via sign-and-trade with Milwaukee, was seen walking back to the locker room with five minutes remaining in the first half. 

Midway through the third quarter, he was ruled out for the night with a hip injury. His final line on the night: four points, two assists and two rebounds. With Oladipo still taking things easy as he returns from a knee injury, this is not a loss for which the backcourt is prepared.

Indiana Pacers @Pacers

.@JustHolla7 steal & slam 🔨 https://t.co/7mUguEoNzU

Indiana Pacers @Pacers

Can't stop watching Domas. Form is impeccable. https://t.co/emzh2FbUtJ

Indiana Pacers @Pacers

just keeps going & going 🔋 @TJMcConnell https://t.co/9KxDApAp1I

J. Michael @ThisIsJMichael

Brogdon says he felt something in his hip when he was contesting a jumper by Middleton. Unclear on his status going into Chicago but walked out of the locker room looking OK #PacersBucks

In his absence, T.J. McConnell (14 points) played 30 minutes as the game got out of hand late in the fourth quarter. That put too much pressure on Sabonis, and the big man shot just 6-of-16 from the field with six turnovers. 

The mid-week matchup offered a potential playoff preview. If the Pacers can't get fully healthy by the postseason, that series may look a lot like it did on Wednesday. 

J. Michael @ThisIsJMichael

Giannis hasn't had a bad game. Turner has defended him quite well w/his length though. I think they've found something for future matchups. That's 2 or 3 tieups on his explosions to the rim. #PacersBucks

What's Next

The Pacers' five-game road trip continues Friday as their third stop lands them in Chicago to face the Bulls before they jet off to face Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday.

Milwaukee is also heading out on the road for a three-game swing out west. The Bucks will face the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday in a potential NBA Finals preview as the top teams in the East and West clash at Staples Center at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. 




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