The Pacers are playing like a playoff team. Also, the #LanceEffect is real. Despite opening the game 0-5 from the field, the Pacers ended the quarter up four, weathering a double-digit scoring effort by The Alphabet.
In the second, despite some haphazard play by both teams, the Pacers bench was able to provide some offense AND defense. The Bucks committed more than 10 turnovers in the first half. The Pacers know they have to win, and they played like it. They ended the half up six.
I had two questions: Will the Bucks start hitting open 3s (they had several)? Will the Pacers open just as cold in the third as they did in the first? I was relieved on both fronts, through the first 9 minutes of the half, anyway. In the third, the Pacers shot 11-15 with 3 minutes to go, and Mirza Teletovic, the Bosnian bomber, hadn’t hit his fourth three of the game yet. Still, the Pacers ended the third up 12. When my daughter cried with 30 second to go and I had to soothe her back to sleep, I left the computer screen with a smile on face—not the usual “we’re all going to die” existentialist dread that has consumed by Pacers heart. Thanks, this Pacers team.
The fourth quarter saw Lance continue his recent shooting success from three, but more importantly, his passing created opportunities for teammates. His shooting will come and go, but his playmaking ability is why he is here, and that should be there every night. He finished with five assists tonight.
The Pacers were humming. Brooks drew two fourth quarter charges (one that put Middleton out of the game) and hit a couple threes, PG got to the line, and the Bosnian bomber started to miss. Pacers win. It should be noted that Kevin Seraphin had his best game of the season. Kudos to KS. And shoutout to Nate McMillan for shortening the rotation to include just one big off the bench.
Final: 104-89 as they beat the Bucks for the first time this season after losing by an average of 16 points in the first three meetings.