A quick overview of the Indiana Pacers/Milwaukee Bucks rivalry after the first round

After their Game 6 win to win the first-round series, the Indiana Pacers record against the Milwaukee Bucks became even more impressive.
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Three
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Three / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Unfortunately, the Bucks did not come into the series at full strength, as Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a left calf strain before the playoffs and could not play to start the series, or ever in the series.

This did not stop Milwaukee from comfortably taking the first game of the series 109-94 behind 35 points from Damian Lillard, all of which were in the first half. By now, we know what the story was in Game 1. The relatively inexperienced Pacers had trouble adjusting to playoff basketball and shot terribly as a result.

Indiana looked lost and confused out there and the veteran Bucks played them like a fiddle to get the win. This win, while giving Milwaukee the first blow in the playoff series, also brought their total record against Indiana up to 4-2 in six games.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, Indiana got the hang of playoff basketball rather quickly and took the next three games, two of which were double-digit wins.

After dismantling the Bucks 125-108 on their home court behind 37 points from Pascal Siakam, the series shifted to Indiana for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 was a different affair from the first two, as although Indiana got out to a massive first-half lead, the Bucks came storming back behind the heroics of Khris Middleton and even sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately for Middleton and company, his late-game heroics were thwarted by Tyrese Haliburton's floater to win the game and put the Pacers up 2-1 in the series and 6-2 in the season series.

Game 4 in Indiana was more of the same from Game 2, except this time the Bucks did not have Lillard, who suffered an Achilles injury in Game 3 and sat out the next two games. Nevertheless, the Bucks still gave Indiana a good fight and kept it close for the majority of the game before having it fully taken away in the fourth quarter. This gave Indiana a coveted 3-1 series lead, a 7-2 season series advantage, and most importantly, a chance to send the Bucks home in Game 5 in Milwaukee.

This did not end up happening. Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard both sitting out, the Bucks dominated the Pacers to the tune of a 115-92 victory in Fiserv Forum. In what was seemingly a repeat of Game 1, everyone on the Pacers once again looked lost as Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis poured in 29 points each and helped the Bucks hold off elimination for one more game, putting the series at 3-2 and the season series at 7-3.

This set up a Game 6 in Indiana, with Damian Lillard back in action for the first time since Game 3. Indiana knew that they would have to put the Bucks away in this Game 6 to avoid a nightmare scenario in Game 7 which may have even involved a Giannis Antetokounmpo return.

Sure enough, that's exactly what they did. Behind 21 points by Obi Toppin and 20 from TJ McConnell, the Pacers blew out the Bucks 120-98 to win their first playoff series in a decade and finish with a record of 8-3 against the Milwaukee Bucks in total.

In the end, despite being given a good challenge in the playoffs, the Pacers did what they did best in the regular season, which was dismantle the Milwaukee Bucks. Three of the four victories in the first-round series were by double digits, and it ended with a rousing Indiana blowout in front of the Gainsbridge Fieldhouse faithful.

Could things have gone differently if Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard were fully healthy? Perhaps, but at the moment, we can only go off things we have seen. From the games they have played this season, the Indiana Pacers have a 3-1 record with both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard playing and a 4-2 record in the playoffs. For now, that is the end of the tale.


Perhaps these teams face off again in the playoffs down the line. If they do, one thing is for sure. This may be the start of a historic rivalry that stretches for years to come.