INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – It was definitely the start of hunting season this weekend, because the Bucks looked just like some deer in headlights on Saturday night. The Bucks were the victims of a poor third quarter, which was the turning point in their 123-86 loss against the Indiana Pacers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Greg Monroe led the Bucks with another double-double that consisted of 11 points and 14 rebounds starting in the 5 spot. Jabari Parker and O.J. Mayo each chipped in 10 points, Mayo’s points coming off the bench. For the Pacers, it was C.J. Miles leading the way with 21 points. Paul George and Jordan Hill each contributed 20 as well.
Milwaukee started the game as well as they have in any other game. Parker had back-to-back steals to give Milwaukee a small lead, Giannis Antetokounmpo was driving the lane hard, the ball was being moved, Paul George was being contained and Miles had yet to takeover. After a solid first quarter the Bucks were down by three going into the second. The second quarter was more of the same. Monroe had two put-backs under the basket and the defense was doing it’s job. The Bucks went into halftime down four looking ready to come out after the half and compete.
The third quarter was where the Bucks lost their way. Miles had 13 of his season-high 21 points in the frame as the Pacers dominated the Bucks throughout. They outhustled, outshot, and outrebounded Milwaukee. Hill’s 20 off the bench was a large part of the third quarter romp. Former Buck Monta Ellis put a three pointer in with 30 seconds remaining to make the game 90-67, well out of reach before even entering the fourth. 13 turnovers by the Bucks starting five was crucial in Indiana’s momentum.
George contributed seven rebounds and seven assists on top of his 20 points. Ian Mahinmi, whom was absent offensively the entire game, managed to make an impact for the Pacers by grabbing seven rebounds down the stretch. Hill also helped by adding 11 rebounds to go with his 20 points on the night.
For the Bucks it was a different story. Not many threes were put up throughout the game. Khris Middleton was nowhere to be found, shooting 1 of 4 on the only attempts coming from the Bucks starters, and 3 of 11 overall with only eight points. The Bucks bench also was also absent when they needed to be present. Chris Copeland came in down the stretch and added 3 points. John Henson put up six. The highlight of the night was Mayo coming off the bench and adding 10 points, going 2-5 from three. Mayo coming in and producing is definitely a highlight in the game, which had so few, because the Bucks will need him to be a viable weapon in games to come in and give a spark.
The loss was tough to swallow for the Bucks, making their record 5-8 and dropping their third straight. There were not a lot of high points for the Bucks, their bench didn’t produce like it usually does, they allowed 29 points on 23 turnovers, Giannis wasn’t being as aggressive and they weren’t putting shots up form behind the arc. On the flip side, Indiana came out in the second half explosive and aggressive.
The Bucks will look to come back from this skid Monday as they take on Monroe’s former team, the Detroit Pistons, in the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mayo will still be protecting the hamstring and Henson will be nursing the sore Achilles. However, minutes off the bench from them vs. Indiana is a good sign for Milwaukee.