The Rundown: Pacers pull off upset win over Bucks

Published March 17, 2023, 2:20 PMPolo Bustamante

The Pacers relied on a balanced attack to take down one of the top teams in the East.


Nuggets 119, Pistons 100

Kings 101, Nets 96

Raptors 128, Thunder 111

Pacers 139, Bucks 123

Suns 116, Magic 113

What went down

See this poster by Myles Turner on Giannis Antetokounmpo?

That’s the visual representation of how the Indiana Pacers manhandled the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks today.

Early on, it seemed like the Bucks would continue their winning ways over the Pacers. They won the last two contests pretty easily. Milwaukee dropped 40 first-quarter points to take an early double-digit lead. Antetokounmpo set the tone with several buckets in the paint and Joe Ingles waxed hot from beyond the arc.

That hot start and injuries to key players didn’t deter the Pacers from keeping in step with the Bucks as they were only down seven heading into the halftime break. That first half by Indiana was apparently just a warm-up for an explosive third-quarter run.

The Pacers scored 49 points in the third quarter to tie the game at 101 heading into the final period. Andrew Nembhard and former Buck Jordan Nwora found their range after halftime to lead the Pacers. Then in the fourth, Indiana put the clamps on Milwaukee, limiting the Bucks to just 22 points in the final period. That defensive showing allowed the Pacers to pull away for the upset win.

Nembhard led all Pacers with 24 points, nailing four triples in the game. Buddy Hield backed him up with 20 points and three 3-pointers. Nwora scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds against his former team. Five other Indiana players scored in double figures in the balanced showing. 

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 25 points.

Big-time baller

There’s been a shift in the betting markets. Nikola Jokic was favored to win the MVP award in the past few months. But today, Joel Embiid, last year’s runner-up to Jokic, overtook him. It probably had something to do with the Philadelphia 76ers’ six-game winning streak and the Denver Nuggets’ four-game slide.

Facing the lottery-bound Detroit Pistons today, Jokic did everything he could to end the Nuggets’ losing streak. He finished with a near-triple-double, logging 30 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. 

This win was also big for the Nuggets because they became the first team in the West to clinch a playoff spot.

This is turning out to be an interesting MVP debate. That should fuel both Jokic and Embiid to continue playing like big-time ballers.

What he said 

Malik Monk didn’t have a remarkable statline today. He finished the game with 12 points on 11 shots. Even if his shot wasn’t falling, Monk still found a way to help the Sacramento Kings light the beam. He dug deep defensively and was able to stand his ground, even when he was being targeted by the Brooklyn Nets on defense.

Monk was a plus-18 for the game, which was huge since the Kings only won by five. That performance on D earned him praises from Coach Mike Brown and the DPOG Chain.

Did you see that?

Today, there were reports that Michael Jordan is looking to sell his majority stake with the Charlotte Hornets.

Maybe that’s for the best. MJ can just play golf or cards with his buddies. He’s done enough during his time playing and he doesn’t need to worry about running a team anymore. The very mediocre Hornets are just ruining the GOAT debate for him anyway.