The Indiana Pacers need to go back to a reduced rotation

When the Pacers won the three games they've won in this series, they had a reduced rotation. For some reason that changed in Game 5. They need to go back to it.
Apr 30, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;   Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots during
Apr 30, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots during / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers got blown out in embarrassing fashion in Game 5. After the first quarter, they were outscored by over 30 points. They had a chance to end the series with the Bucks and advance to the second round. Instead, they looked too young for a closeout game on the road.

Part of the reason why the Pacers got worked is because of their rotations. In each of the three games that they have won in this series, they reduced the rotation to eight players. For some reason in Game 5, Rick Carlisle thought it was smart to put Doug McDermott and Isaiah Jackson back into the fold.

While the bench has been a strength of the Pacers, it clearly isn't smart to keep playing so many guys. Even T.J. McConnell, who has been one of their go-to guys off the bench all season, has had a rough series. The less we see of the bench, the better against Milwaukee.

The Pacers might have to deal with the Bucks' stars in Game 6

The worst part of losing Game 5 is that the Bucks might get both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard back. While the Pacers can still beat Milwaukee with both of those guys playing, they're making it a lot harder on themselves by allowing them to still be alive to come back.

Indiana still needs to reduce the rotation even if those guys play. Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam have been the focal point of the offense for most of this series. They need to play more and Carlisle needs to put them in more positions to be effective.

Tyrese Haliburton needs to be more aggressive in the paint as well. He shot the ball well enough in Game 5 and was making some threes, but he needs to be that ultra-aggressive Haliburton we saw in the In-Season Tournament. He has to dictate everything offensively for the Pacers.


We'll see if Carlisle decides to go back to the eight-man rotation for tonight's game. It might be the best way to get the Pacers to win their first playoff series in a decade.