Poor rotational defense is a big issue for the Indiana Pacers

Even though the Indiana Pacers hold a 3-1 series lead over the Bucks, their poor rotational defense almost kept them from getting two out of the three wins they've gotten.
Apr 28, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) passes the
Apr 28, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) passes the / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers hold a 3-1 series lead after beating the Bucks in Game 4 on Sunday night. They won the game by double-digits, but the Bucks didn't have Damian Lillard or Giannis Antetokounmpo. They also had a hobbled Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis got himself ejected early in the game.

Bottom line, the game shouldn't have been that close. The Pacers made 22 threes and still only won 126-113. While that might fly in this series, it won't in the second round if they do advance. A big reason why they struggled to pull away was poor defensive rotations.

The Bucks had wide-open shots several times from multiple different spots on the floor. It was the only time they were able to score. When the Pacers were actually defending guys, the Bucks weren't able to put the ball in the bucket. Miscommunication on switches were the primary culprit.

The Pacers need better rotational defense moving forward if they want to continue to win in the playoffs

Communicating on switches was a problem. For as good as Obi Toppin played defensively, he got caught several times not switching fast enough. Myles Turner got caught a couple of times too, as did Aaron Nesmith. Everyone had issues with back-picks.

As well as Turner played offensively, he had a poor defensive game. Brook Lopez was eating him up on the other side, especially from deep. For some reason, Turner refused to close out on him from the three-point line, even after he had made a few. He was one of the only scorers the Bucks had out there besides Middleton.

Rick Carlisle needs to get his guys to play better defense. They had played pretty well over the last two months of the regular season on that side of the court, but that seems to have become a problem in this series. This is despite the Bucks not having their best player. It's definitely concerning.


The Pacers are still likely to advance in this series. If they do, they will likely play the Knicks. Defense will be at a premium against a tough, gritty team like them.