Giannis' Triple-Double Leads Bucks to Dominant Victory over PacersFebruary 4, 2021
By halftime, Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a double-double, so it was only fitting that he secured a triple-double by the end of the third quarter of the Milwaukee Bucks' 130-110 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Antetokounmpo's performance vaulted him into fourth place on the team's all-time assist list, and the 13-8 Bucks claimed second place in the Eastern Conference with the victory, jumping over the 14-9 Brooklyn Nets.
For the 12-10 Pacers, Domantas Sabonis became the second player in team history to tally at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in back-to-back games.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks: 21 PTS (7/8 FG, 7/8 FT), 14 REB, 10 AST
- Domantas Sabonis, Pacers: 33 PTS (14/25 FG, 3/5 3PT, 2/2 FT), 12 REB, 6 AST
- Bobby Portis, Bucks: 18 PTS (7/13 FG, 4/5 3PT), 9 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL
- Justin Holiday, Pacers: 15 PTS (5/8 FG, 3/5 3PT, 2/2 FT), 8 REB, 2 STL
High-Flying Pacers Grounded by Bucks
When they needed it most, the Pacers were able to pull off their best performance of the season Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
After back-to-back losses, the Pacers set season bests for points scored (134), field-goal percentage (59.8) and three-point percentage (55.2). Sabonis tied a career high with 32 points, while Malcolm Brogdon posted 23 and Myles Turner had 22.
On Wednesday, though, the Pacers couldn't keep up with the Bucks. They trailed by eight after the first quarter and entered the break down by 17. The Pacers fell behind in nearly every category, hitting 40.8 percent of their shots from the field and 33.3 percent from three in the first half.
In contrast, the Bucks hit 12 of their 26 shots from deep in the opening half. Though Indiana gave up the ball six times to Milwaukee's eight, the Bucks were more productive when they took the ball away, scoring 11 points off turnovers.
Sabonis grabbed 18 points to lead all scorers in the first half, and he didn't get the help he needed from his teammates in the second half. He ended the night with 33 points to lead all scorers, while Holiday tacked on 15 as the next-highest-scoring Pacer.
The Pacers were limited to 45.3 shooting from the field overall and hit 11 of 34 three-point attempts.
Milwaukee's Defense Bounces Back
The Bucks defense has struggled of late, especially in preventing opponents from hitting shots from deep. The unit ranks 20th in the league with an average of 112.4 points allowed but is third-worst in opponent three-point percentage (39.2).
That struggle was on display in their last two losses. The New Orleans Pelicans attempted a season-high 48 shots from beyond the arc and hit a whopping 21 of them—tying a franchise record they set last month—as they beat the Bucks 131-126 in Milwaukee on Friday. On Saturday, the Charlotte Hornets also hit 21 threes as they rolled to a 126-114 victory.
With the Pacers fresh off a top performance from three, the Bucks would need to fix the issues on defense to be successful Wednesday.
They were up to the task—especially in the areas that hurt them in their last two losses. The Pacers never led, and the Bucks limited them to 40.8 percent shooting in the first half, running out to a 21-10 lead to start the game.
In the end, the Bucks grabbed 13 steals and held the Pacers to 32.4 percent shooting from deep.
The Bucks are set for a back-to-back on the road with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (8 p.m. ET).
The Pacers will host the Pelicans on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.