Bucks offense too much for Pacers in 132-119 win Wisconsin News

MILWAUKEE — Jrue Holiday had a season-high 35 points and 11 assists, and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Indiana Pacers 132-119 on Monday without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks played a third straight game without Antetokounmpo due to left knee pain. The Pacers were missing leading scorer and NBA assists leader Tyrese Haliburton for a third straight game due to a left elbow sprain and a minor bone contusion in his left knee.

Holiday shot 13 of 19 overall and 5 of 8 from 3-point range while collecting his third straight double-double. The Bucks went 23 of 46 from beyond the arc and had their highest total of 3-point baskets this season.

Myles Turner returned for Indiana after missing three games with back spasms and scored 30 points for the Pacers, who lost their fourth straight. TJ McConnell added a career-high 29 points – 25 in the first half – and had nine assists.

After falling behind by as much as 13, the Bucks moved 101-100 ahead on Grayson Allen’s 3-pointer with 10:04 in the game, the first time the Pacers have been behind since the opening quarter. Indiana responded with back-to-back baskets from Andrew Nembhard and Jalen Smith.

It was back and forth from there, with five lead changes in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter.

Jordan Nwora’s 3-pointer with 7:40 left finally gave the Bucks a 108-107 lead and started a 7-0 run that included two baskets from Holiday.

Bobby Portis had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez had 19 points, Grayson Allen 17 and Nwora 14.

Buddy Hield scored 18 and Bennedict Mathurin added 12 for the Pacers.

Indiana led most of the time thanks to McConnell’s quick start, who scored just 6 points per game.

During his 25-point first half, McConnell shot 9-of-9 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range and 3-of-3 from the free throw line, while playing 17 minutes. He also handed out six assists.

The Pacers shot 60.9% in the first half and took a 76-65 lead at the break. McConnell didn’t miss a shot until 5:45 remained in the third quarter.

Pacers: Indiana achieved the highest scoring in the first half of the season. Indiana also scored 76 points in the first half of a 136-133 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on December 10.

Bucks: Coach Mike Budenholzer said ahead of the game it’s not yet decided if Antetokounmpo will play the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. “We continue to think it’s kind of things that he and we’ve been dealing with, for me it’s every year that I’m here,” Budenholzer said. “We don’t think it’s more than that. Since he is healthy, care always comes first for him. We’ll probably always play it safe. We know how important he is to us.”

Pacers: Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

Bucks: host Toronto on Tuesday. In their only previous game of the season, the Bucks won 104-101 in overtime on Jan. 4 in Toronto.

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