Pacers/Bucks rivalry grows in Game 2 after in-game scuffle and post-game comments

After a heated exchange in Game 2 of the first-round series, Bobby Portis had some words for Andrew Nembhard as the Pacers/Bucks rivalry grows.
Apr 23, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) shoots the ball
Apr 23, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) shoots the ball / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have beaten the Milwaukee Bucks to win their first playoff game in six years, and some hostile feelings have been added to the table.

For starters, it's been abundantly clear for months that these teams do not like each other. Ever since their meeting in the In-Season Tournament where Tyrese Haliburton mocked Damian Lillard and the game that followed which ended in the infamous game ball fiasco, the Pacers and Bucks have had some hostility towards each other. This was fueled by the two games that followed, where the Pacers beat the Bucks twice in three nights to end the season series 4-1 in their favor.

Because of this, many were hoping for a first-round matchup between these two teams, and that wish was ultimately granted, as the Pacers just won Game 2 to tie up the series 1-1 heading to Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Up until the start of Game 2, no hostile acts were found in the series itself, only in the chatter beforehand.

That would change in Game 2, as Andrew Nembhard and Bobby Portis of the Bucks got into it during the game due to Nembhard taunting Patrick Beverley. Portis, known in NBA circles as an enforcer around the league, stepped in and began clapping in the face of Nembhard and Tyrese Haliburton, who clapped back.

While the situation got diffused before it escalated, with only a technical foul assessed on Nembhard, the ripple effect was felt after the game. After Indiana blew Milwaukee out to tie the series, Portis was asked how he felt about the Pacers, and he held nothing back with his response, to say the least.

To summarize, Portis called the Pacers 'frontrunners' and expressed frustration on how they acted when things were going their way compared to Game 1 when things weren't going their way. It is clear that Portis has allowed the Pacers to get in his head and this only adds fuel to the rivalry, which Tyrese Haliburton had no problem stoking the flames of after his postgame comments.

After the two-game start in Milwaukee concluded, Haliburton took some shots at the Bucks crowd, suggesting the Pacers crowd is louder, and that the Bucks' playoff crowd was at the level of a regular season crowd, which certainly won't endear himself to any more Bucks fans.


Between Haliburton's comments, the in-game skirmish, and Bobby Portis' postgame comments, this is clearly not going to be a friendly series. The Pacers and Bucks already didn't like each other, and that feeling certainly hasn't changed after two games and more moments of hostility. We can expect Game 3 to be a good one back in Gainsbridge, as Indiana looks to take two in a row and really put the pressure on Milwaukee.