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Take Pacers to Top Bucks, Cover Spread in Game 3

The Indiana Pacers try to keep their quest to defy the NBA playoff odds and advance out of the first round when they host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series on Friday. The sixth-seeded Pacers tied up the series at a win apiece on Tuesday, defeating the Bucks 125-108 in Milwaukee to become the first team in this postseason to get a win on the road.

The third-seeded Bucks now must get a win on the road of their own if they want to avoid the first-round upset. Milwaukee has lost three of four going back into the regular season and most likely won’t have MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo available for this game either. He’s been sidelined since April 9 with a calf injury.

Take Pacers to Top Bucks, Cover Spread in Game 3
Take Pacers to Top Bucks, Cover Spread in Game 3

The Game 2 victory was Indiana’s first in the postseason since 2018, as it was swept out of the postseason in its last two appearances in 2019 and 2020. The young team is playing with a lot of confidence right now and will look to improve upon its 26-15 home record in the regular season.


Bucks vs Pacers Game Information

  • Game: Bucks (1-1) vs Pacers (1-1)
  • Start Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Day Game: Friday, April 26
  • Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
  • Bucks vs Pacers Live Stream: NBA Game Pass


This will be the eighth time these two teams have played in 2023-24, with matchups in the regular season, the In-Season Tournament and the postseason. Indiana has won five of the seven previous matchups. The last time these teams faced each other in the playoffs, the Pacers came out on top 4-2 in the first round on their way to their only Finals appearance in 2000.

The NBA lines for Game 3 give the edge to the home team, with the Pacers favored by five points. The moneyline lists Indiana at -210 to get the straight-up win while Milwaukee is +175. The over/under for the game has been set at 222½ points, with -110 odds on both sides of that wager.



Bucks vs Pacers Head-to-Head


Bucks vs Pacers Odds and Spreads




  • The total has gone over in the last five games when Milwaukee has played at Indiana.
  • Indiana is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games against a Central Division opponent.
  • The Pacers are 5-0 straight-up in their last five games at home.
  • Milwaukee is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games against the Pacers.
  • The total has gone under in six of the Bucks’ last eight games played on a Friday.


Bucks Need Full-Game Effort

Milwaukee was able to weather the storm in Game 1 when Damian Lillard scored all of his 35 points in the first half of the contest. But the Bucks had that same kind of second-half lull in Game 2 as well, with Lillard scoring 26 of his 34 points before halftime. If the Bucks are going to pull out a win on the road in the next two games, they need Dame Time to last 48 minutes.

I think both games we had a lot of success in the first two quarters mainly, and then in the second half we kind of get away from the things we had a lot of success doing,” Lillard said after the Game 2 loss.

Lillard is also going to need some help from his teammates if the Bucks are going to keep pace with Indiana, which led the NBA in scoring offense in the regular season. Center Brook Lopez had 22 points, including 6-of-7 shooting from 3-point range in Game 2, while Khris Middleton chipped in 15 points. Middleton, the former All-Star, must get back to his high-scoring ways of the Bucks’ run to the NBA title in 2021, when he averaged 23.6 points in the postseason.

The Pacers like to get out and go on the fast break, which means Milwaukee misses can start the Indiana offense. The Bucks were able to hold the Pacers to just 39.6% shooting from the floor in Game 1, with Indiana posting its season low in points in the loss. The Pacers shot 55.6% from the floor in Game 2.

I thought we struggled execution-wise on the offensive end, and I thought that bled over to the defensive end,” Bucks coach Doc Rivers said after Game 2. “I thought it was more our offense tonight.


Pacers Get It Going Behind Siakam

While Tyrese Haliburton has been getting a lot of the headlines for the Pacers’ success this season – and with good reason – veteran forward Pascal Siakam has shown up for the postseason. The veteran forward had 37 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the Game 2 win after he had 36 points and 13 rebounds in the Game 1 loss.

We’ve got to be the hungry team,” Siakam said after the Game 2 win. “We’ve got to be the team that’s coming in and wanting to show something. That’s the attitude that we’ve got to have against those guys, because they’ve done it before.”

Siakam has done it before. He was a member of the 2019 Toronto Raptors squad that won the title. Siakam was dealt to the Pacers at midseason this year, partially for his interior scoring and defense and partially to give some veteran leadership to the group.

Haliburton, who led the Pacers in scoring in the regular season with 20.1 points per game, tallied just 12 points in the Game 2 win, but he did dish out 12 assists. He’s averaging 11.2 assists over his last four games as he looks to get everyone involved in the offense.

That balanced attack – Myles Turner had 22 points and Andrew Nembhard 20 in Game 2 – is what will propel the Pacers to where they want to go. Haliburton can turn it on when he needs to, but Indiana needs the whole team cooking, so the All-Star is better served to get his teammates their points before he worries about his own.


Pacers Keep It Going With Game 3 Win

Milwaukee just isn’t the same team without Antetokounmpo in the lineup, especially on the interior. Siakam and Turner should be able to get easier shots without the Greek Freak patrolling the paint once again.

The Pacers’ balanced offense is just too much for the Bucks if Lillard doesn’t get more scoring help from his teammates. The 33-year-old can’t carry a team single-handedly like he used to be able to, so Milwaukee must get more from others on the offensive end.

The Bucks won’t get that in Game 3 and Indiana should overwhelm them again with its balanced attack. Make sure your NBA picks for this game include the Pacers winning and covering the five-point spread to take a 2-1 series lead.



Questions of the Day

Have the Bucks won on the road against the Pacers this season?

Milwaukee is 0-2 in games against Indiana played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse this season.

When was the last time the Pacers and Bucks played in the postseason?

The most recent postseason meeting between the Pacers and Bucks prior to this season came in 2000, with Indiana earning a 4-2 victory in the first round.

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