Giannis Antetokounmpo carries Milwaukee Bucks closer to 2nd in East

May 13, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) is fouled by Indiana Pacers forward Oshae Brissett (12) in the third quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 142-133 victory over the host Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.

The Bucks (45-25) pulled to within one game of the Brooklyn Nets, who hold second place in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers (33-37) remained tied with the Charlotte Hornets for eighth place in the East, but their lead over the 10th-place Washington Wizards is now one game with two left to play.

Indiana continued to struggle at home falling to 13-22 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Bucks swept the season series against the Pacers for the first time since 2010.

Milwaukee outscored Indiana 39-38 in the first quarter while shooting 61.5 percent. The Pacers shot 51.9 percent, as Justin Holiday kept them in it with 18 points in the period on six 3-pointers.

But Milwaukee went on an 10-0 surge to open the second half and took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter. Indiana never drew closer than eight points the rest of the way.

The Pacers had eight players score in double figures led by Holiday, who had 26 with eight 3-pointers.

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The Bucks crushed the Pacers in the paint, outscoring them 78-50 and got to the free-throw line far more often. Milwaukee shot 23-for-31 on free throws while Indiana went 12-for-15.

Khris Middleton scored 22 points and Brook Lopez had 21 points and eight rebounds. Jrue Holiday finished with 20 points and 14 assists, and Bobby Portis had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting off the bench.

Domantas Sabonis shot only 5-for-19 from the field and totaled 10 points and 14 assists, and left the game with 5:31 left in the third quarter after he and Lopez collided under the basket. Sabonis appeared to be favoring his left leg. Lopez remained in the game.

T.J. McConnell, who had 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds, exited with 3:28 left in the second quarter after injuring his hand. But McConnell returned at the start of the second half.

Doug McDermott and Oshae Brissett each had 19 points. JaKarr Sampson had 14 points, Kelan Martin added 12 points and nine rebounds and Goga Bitadze had 10 points off the bench.

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–Field Level Media