Pacers get torched by Damian Lillard and the Bucks in Game 1

The young Indiana Pacers were not ready for the start of the playoffs and they got blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1.
Apr 21, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) drives for the
Apr 21, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) drives for the / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers were not ready for Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. That much was obvious very early in this game. They let Damian Lillard score almost as many points in the first quarter as they did as a team. Lillard had 15 points when the Pacers had 15 with two minutes left in that quarter.

It was a deficit that the Pacers let get to as many as 29 points. They weren't able to close it. In the end, the Pacers fell 109-94. Quite honestly, it was an embarrassing performance that saw Indiana miss a ton of shots and get passive in big moments. That was especially true of the Pacers' best player.

Tyrese Haliburton was awful in this game. If you look at the stats, it may not look like a terrible performance. His shooting percentage wasn't bad. In fact, it was 57%. The problem is that he only took seven shots in the entire game. He was passive and didn't look to attack. That's a massive issue.

Damian Lillard lights up the Indiana Pacers as they had no answer for him in the first half

Lillard was unbelievable in the first half of this game. He had 35 points and made six three-pointers in the first half. He absolutely torched Andrew Nembard on the defensive end. For some reason, Rick Carlisle refused to double-team him and get the ball out of his hands.

The only Pacers player who looked ready for the moment was Pascal Siakam. He had 36 points and 14 rebounds. He's the only one on the team who has won a championship, so it makes sense that he was the guy who was able to play well.

There is good news for the Pacers. This is as bad as they could have possibly played. They missed wide-open threes, played terrible defense, and got no production from Haliburton. They shot just 20.5% from three. They can't possibly play worse.


As long as they get a win in Game 2, things will be fine. Giannis likely won't play in that game either. It's imperative that they win that game. You can just count this one as a young team dealing with jitters in their first game in the bright lights.