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Bucks Star Calls Out Pacers as “Frontrunners”

Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles past Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) in the first half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Fiserv Forum.

The Indiana Pacers evened the series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. Pascal Siakam‘s 37-point effort led the way for Indiana in a 125-108 Game 2 victory. With the series now headed back to Indianapolis, there is plenty of animosity between the two teams.

Bucks Star Calls Out Pacers as “Frontrunners”

Bucks Portis Unhappy With Pacers Antics

The Athletic’s Eric Nehm reported that Bucks forward Bobby Portis was discontent with the Pacers visible animosity during the second half of Game 2.

Portis then reflected on his comments, stating that the Pacers are just doing what they are supposed to.

“I think that’s just human nature and basketball. When you making shots, you feeling good. But when the tough [gets] going, you can’t get nothing going, it kind of go the other way. So, yeah, they’re supposed to feel good. They were hitting shots. They gameplanned really well…But Game 3 [is] on the way Friday.”

With star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo still dealing with a calf injury, Portis has taken on a larger role in the Bucks offense. The former Arkansas Razorback has posted double-doubles in both games.

Portis, one of six remaining Bucks from the 2021 title-winning squad, is no stranger to conflict. The 29-year old is known to be an enforcer of sorts in today’s NBA.

In 2017, during his time with the Chicago Bulls, Portis was involved in a physical altercation with teammate Nikola Mirotić. The scuffle resulted in Mirotić receiving a concussion and multiple facial fractures, while Portis received an eight-game suspension.

Damian Lillard Key in Bucks-Pacers Series

Milwaukee will hope Antetokounmpo is able to return at some point during the series. If not, they will have to continue to rely on Damian Lillard.

The eight-time All-Star has risen to the occasion. He scored 35 points in the Game 1 win and 34 points in the Game 2 loss. Lillard scored 26 points in the first half of Game 2, but was held to 3-9 shooting for only eight points in the second half.

The 33-year old shared his thoughts on the stark difference in halves during the postgame press conference.

“They [Indiana] picked up the pressure, they started to face-guard and deny a little bit harder. I just think we weren’t as organized as we needed to be when they defended that way. When our offense is struggling with our pacing, our spacing sometimes, you got to be focused, you got to be able to execute through that, even when you’re tired, even when a team is turning up the pressure, the physicality. We struggled with that, a little bit tonight. Because of it, our shot quality was low. Against a team like this, you know they want to get the ball out and run, get up and get quick shots up, they play at an extremely high pace. I just thought the areas we struggled in offensively really hurt our defense, and allowed them to get out and play the way that they’re comfortable. I think it showed when they kind of jumped out and took that lead.”

The Bucks will need a complete team effort to overcome a motivated Pacers team that will thrive on their raucous crowd in the next two games. Friday’s Game 3 is scheduled for 5:30 PM ET, while Game 4 will take place on Sunday at 7:00 PM ET.


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