The Milwaukee Bucks are well and truly in the playoff picture after defeating the Indiana Pacers 99-85 for the team’s fifth straight victory.
The Bucks were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton who finished with 21 points apiece.
Paul George meanwhile finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 42 minutes of play, his second highest total time on the court this season.
The Pacers started the game strongly with a 14-3 run and shot nearly 58 percent from the field, but couldn’t hold off the fast-finishing Bucks who trailed by just four at the end of the first period.
The game lay in the balance in the second quarter as neither side could build any sustainable momentum.
But it was Khris Middleton who was again the hero for the Bucks, scoring nine points in the quarter after going scoreless in the first.
The Bucks turned over the ball 10 times in the first half, bordering closely to their season average of 13.
Indiana took a slender five-point lead into the break but it was the Bucks who came out storming, opening the half with a 12-5 run.
The Pacers coughed up possession three times inside the first five minutes and the tone was set for the remainder of the game.
Milwaukee outscored Indiana 29-18 in the third quarter and it could’ve been much worse for the Pacers.
Jeff Teague scored ten points in the quarter including eight straight to keep the game alive but it was only a matter of time until the Bucks ran away with it.
An impotent final quarter from the Pacers was the final nail in the coffin as the Bucks jumped into the eighth seed.
The Pacers still sit sixth but with the Pistons only one game back, the final seeding in the Eastern Conference is anybody’s guess.