Pacers need to treat this Game 6 like a Game 7

The Indiana Pacers need to treat this Game 6 like their season is on the line.
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Pacers have perhaps their biggest chance to close out the Bucks at home, and they better not let it slip from their grasp.

After the complete and utter disaster that was Game 5, the Pacers/Bucks first round series returns to Indiana for the third game in Gainbridge Fieldhouse and the second chance for Indiana to put the Bucks away and advance to the second round.

This may be their best chance yet, as the statuses of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard are still in the air, and with both of them being listed as questionable for now, the current believe is that neither of them will play, which is exactly what the Pacers need.

However, the same was said before Game 5, which was the second game in a row played without both of the Bucks' stars and the second loss in the series for Indiana. The Pacers looked completely out of it in Game 5, perhaps already putting the Bucks behind them mentally, and paid dearly for it to the tune of a 23-point blowout on the Bucks' home floor.

In Game 5, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. The Pacers shot bad, defended the Bucks horribly, Rick Carlisle's worst traits as a coach were put on display for the entire world to see, and the hostile Milwaukee crowd fueled the Bucks to a season-saving win.

With the series heading back to Indiana for the final Pacers home game of the first round, the desperation in the Pacers should be evident. If Antetokounmpo and Lillard do not play in Game 6, they will most likely play in Game 7, and that spells trouble for Indiana. Despite the Pacers having a 3-1 record in the regular season when both stars played, they would of course rather have them sit out to make things easier.

Unfortunately, if the Pacers squander a second straight layup of a game, this one in front of their home fans, that may not be the case going forward. Milwaukee has been given plenty of time to rest and rehab Giannis and Lillard and these next few days after a hypothetical Game 6 loss may give them exactly the amount of time they need.


For Indiana to avoid a potential Game 7 disaster fueled by Giannis and Lillard in front of the Bucks home crowd, they will have to put their working boots on and beat Milwaukee before any of that becomes possible. The Pacers need to treat this Game 6 like a Game 7, because they may have no answers if they lose this one.