3 negatives and 1 positive from Indiana's game 1 loss to Milwaukee

Indiana's Game 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks came and went, and there was plenty to take away.
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game One
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game One / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
5 of 5

Positive: Signs of life in second half

The Pacers are an interesting team. They can go down by as many as 40 points and still play as hard as ever. We've seen it in the regular season with the double-digit comebacks, and we even saw it in game 1. Despite the Bucks leading by as much as 30 points at one point, the Pacers never hung their heads and gave up.

Instead, they fought back as much as they could and showed plenty of life in the second half. After starting the second half down by 27 points, the Pacers admirably fought back in the third quarter, scoring 29 points and even holding Milwaukee to 14 points, the lowest any team scored in a quarter in the playoffs so far.

Despite playing all 12 minutes and coming off a 35-point first half, Damian Lillard was contained to 0 points on only three shots in the second half. After an entire half of late-switching and extended pressure on Lillard, Indiana opted to double-team him on every possession in the second half and play tighter on him than before, playing smarter on screens and not allowing him to take them off the dribble.

While this strategy worked in the second half, the damage was done already and the Pacers dug too deep of a hole for them to climb out of. We have seen this plenty of times from the Pacers in the regular season, when they dig themselves into a hole in the first quarter and end up playing catch-up all game, visibly making adjustments on the fly.

This game is by no means the end-all-be-all for the Pacers. Hopefully, some of the nerves from the less experienced players were calmed down after getting a taste of playoff basketball, and they will shoot better going forward.

While off nights are to be expected, the Pacers will certainly not shoot 21% from deep for the rest of the series and miss as many open shots as they did in game 1. This was clearly a learning experience for Carlisle and the crew, and they should take these findings and come out swinging on Tuesday.


Tyrese Haliburton has to step it up as well. Once again, this team goes as far as he takes them, and seven shots will not cut it, especially with the rest of the team struggling under pressure. What was supposed to be a 1-0 series lead heading into game 1 is now a 0-1 deficit, and the Pacers have to tie it up on Tuesday to have any shot at winning the series. Heading into game 3 down 0-2 with Giannis Antetokounmpo likely back is not a good sign at all.