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Milwaukee vs. Indiana: Bucks Storm Past Pacers, 114-99

Bucks earn hard-fought win despite short-handed roster

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A depleted roster was no problem for the Milwaukee Bucks, as they knocked off the Indiana Pacers by a score of 114-99.

Despite being heavily short-handed, Milwaukee didn’t play as if that was the case to start this one off. They’d force Indiana to take an early timeout, but the pendulum would swing the Pacers’ way midway through the quarter. However, at the end of one, things would end up being as even as they could be, with both teams scoring 33 points apiece.

It’d be the Jrue Holiday Show in the second quarter. After giving the Pacers fits in the opening frame, he’d continue to work his way for points in the second quarter as well. He and the Bucks did a good job of controlling momentum throughout the quarter, as they waltzed into halftime with a five-point advantage, 58-53.

The game would continue to flip back-and-forth in the third quarter, with both teams exchanging blows. Bobby Portis and Jrue Holiday would continue to do their things, but Milwaukee could never escape and earn much of a lead. Instead, the game would be tied once again going into the fourth quarter, 87-87.

It’d remain nip-and-tuck throughout the quarter but at about the midway point, the Bucks would begin to summon the hustle plays that catapulted them in front. Down the stretch, they’d start to blow thing open thanks in large part to a 21-0 run that really put the nail in the coffin. They’d end up getting the 114-99 win when it was all said and done.

Jrue Holiday led the way for Milwaukee with a game-high 26 points. Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis both put up 20 point performances. Jordan Nwora would also chip in 15 points despite being named a starter right before the game.

Caris LeVert and Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 16 points apiece.

What Did We Learn?

We learned that despite all of the injuries, the Bucks were able to weather the storm. Despite not having Khris Middleton or Giannis Antetokounmpo, scoring was spread out among the players. In addition to Jrue Holiday posting 26 points, Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton both hit the 20 point threshold and hit timely shots. Jordan Nwora also came alive and featured a 15 point stat line. Championship teams always boast a strong level of depth, and this is something that the Bucks have proven time and time again that they boast.

Three Observations

Jrue Holiday means so much to this team.

With both Giannis and Khris out, Jrue Holiday was the lone member of the Bucks’ Big Three in this one — and he stepped up when he was called on. Not only did he score the basketball (26 points on 12-of-18 shooting), he was still able to make the right decisions and facilitated opportunities to his teammates with 14 assists. That’s the true definition of a player that’s a leader and Holiday epitomizes that. Going back to the scoring, he created a majority of his finishes with his left hand, something that we don’t typically see from him. That just speaks to the level of his basketball skillset and ability to finish at the rim.

Jordan Nwora took the most of his opportunity.

With Milwaukee’s roster so thin, you knew the chances of Jordan Nwora having a big game were high coming into this one — and that’s exactly what happened. Bud would call his name for over 27 minutes in this one, and Nwora responded with 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He’d also cram down a nifty left-handed dunk that exhibited his hops. In his postgame presser, he attributed the mindset to take the most of every opportunity, and that’s exactly what he did. Bud praised his ability to be in attack mode both towards the basket and in transition, which is fantastic to see from the second-year pro. It’s also awesome to see how his teammates react to his success, which is led by Jrue Holiday.

Bobby Portis continues to do Bobby Portis things.

This is something that I likely could’ve typed out prior to the game since it seems to happen every night. Once again, he brought the same energy and effort that symbolizes him. He’d etch out a 20 point performance and come one rebound shy of a double-double. There was one sequence where he stole the ball out of a Pacers’ hands and took it right back up for a slam-dunk and immediately flexed to the Fiserv Forum crowd. It truly is incredible to see how much his performance ignites everyone in the arena, and last night was just another example.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Jrue Holiday has scored 20 points in seven of his last 12 games. He’ll continue to be relied on as the Bucks will be without Giannis and most likely Khris for the near future.
  • Pat Connaughton has scored 10+ points in 20 games this season. Last year, he did that just 17 times. It’s obviously time to discuss how hot he’s shooting the basketball and discuss how he may be earning Sixth Man of the Year honors.
  • I really think it’s time for the Pacers to blow things up. It’s clear that this team won’t be able to contend for a title, and they do have some pieces that they can shuffle around. Their situation seems somewhat similar to the Bucks during the pre-Giannis years.
  • In addition to blowing up their roster, I wouldn’t mind if the Pacers blew up their uniforms as well. They’ve tweaked them a little bit, but I think they could go even further.
  • Myles Turner has been mentioned as a possible target for the Bucks to bring in sometime in the future. Last night, he finished with just 13 points and four rebounds. Not the best tryout in front of Bucks fans.