It was truly a tale of two halves for the Milwaukee Bucks. They used a record-setting first half to stave off an Indiana Pacer rally in the second half to escape with their third victory in as many games. Also, for the second straight game, the Bucks were without Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Bobby Portis, who suffered a sprained MCL and ankle against the Detroit Pistons.
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An Historic First Half
The Bucks got off to a red-hot start, scoring 45 points in the first quarter and 40 in the second. Milwaukee’s defense also clamped down in the first half, and the team took an 85-56 lead into half-time. Per ESPN’s Stats and Info, it was just the second time in team history that they scored 40 or more points in the the first two quarters of a game:
The Bucks scored 40-plus points in each of the first two quarters of a game for the second time in team history. They also did that nearly three years ago to the date, on Jan. 28, 2020 against the Wizards. pic.twitter.com/TGED6sJ3ro
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 28, 2023
The first half included most of the playing time that Khris Middleton received. Milwaukee is limiting him to just 15 minutes per game as he comes back from his recent knee injury. Middleton used the most of his 15 minutes, scoring 15 points in the first half alone. He finished 17 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in what was easily his best game of the season.
A Second Half [Almost] Collapse
As hot as the Bucks were in the first half, the Pacers were nearly as hot in the second. Indiana outscored Milwaukee 75-56 in the second half, cutting the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had a great game, did struggle from the free throw line in the second half, where all but one of his free throw attempts took place. He ended the night just 7-18 from the free throw line, and at one point was 2-10.
Box Score: Milwaukee Bucks
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: 41 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, one steal, one block
- Brook Lopez: 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block
- Jrue Holiday: 20 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, one steal
- Pat Connaughton: 14 points, eight rebounds, one assist, three steals
- Grayson Allen: 13 points, two rebounds, four assists, one block
- Khris Middleton: 17 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals
- Jordan Nwora: zero points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal
- Jevon Carter: 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal
- Wesley Matthews: three points, four rebounds, one steal
- Joe Ingles: six points, one rebound, three assists
Box Score: Indiana Pacers
- Aaron Nesmith: 10 points, three rebounds, one steal
- Myles Turner: 24 points, five rebounds, four blocks
- T.J. McConnell: 19 points, six rebounds, nine assists, three steals
- Buddy Hield: 22 points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals
- Chris Duarte: 17 points, four rebounds, six assists, one steal
- Jalen Smith: nine points, five rebounds, one assist
- Oshae Brissett: zero points, two rebounds
- Terry Taylor: no stats
- Andrew Nembhard: nine points, four assists, one steal
- Bennedict Mathurin: 21 points, eight rebounds, one steal
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