The Indiana Pacers got Giannis Antetokounmpo mad. Not a wise move.
Antetokounmpo picked up a technical foul after being sent to the floor by Indiana’s Myles Turner and Wesley Matthews on a dunk attempt that did not draw a whistle. Then he turned his wrath on the Pacers, fueling a 13-0 third-quarter run that sparked the Milwaukee Bucks to a 117-98 victory Thursday night at Fiserv Forum.
Antetokounmpo finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
After Antetokounmpo was sent to the floor by Turner and Matthews, Indiana’s Bojan Bogdnovich made a 30pointer at the other end to pull the Paccer within 67-64. Antetokounmpo registered his disapproval to referee Nick Buchert, who T’d him up with 5:49 left in the third.
Bogdanovic missed the free throw, and Antetokounmpo took over from there. He rebounded Brook Lopez’s miss and dunked. He grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled upcourt and then fed Lopez for a 3-pointer. Khris Middleton made the next three baskets, with Antetokounmpo assisting one, and Antetokounmpo dunked to complete the 13-0 run that made it 80-64.
And if that wasn’t enough, Antetokounmpo punctuated his night in the fourth quarter. He scored 10 straight Bucks points on four emphatic dunks and a 15-footer.
Antetokounmpo’s second-half flurry overshadowed a nice night by Middleton, who scored 27 to remove the foul taste of his 1-for=13 night in Phoenix Monday night when the Bucks suffered their first two-game losing streak of the season.
The Bucks (49-16) pushed their lead to three games over the Toronto Raptors for the best record in the league.
Turner scored 22 points to lead Indiana (42-24), which lost for the fourth time in its last six games.
The Bucks held the Pacers to 38.9% shooting (35 of 90) in winning the season series, 3-1. The Bucks also improved to 13-1 against Central Division rivals.
Milwaukee calmed any fears its fans may have had after blowing double-digit leads in the fourth quarter of losses at Utah and Phoenix.
The game featured Pau Gasol’s first point as a Buck when he made 1 of 2 free throws in the second quarter. It also marked the return of first-round pick Donte DiVincenzo, who saw his first action since Jan. 1. DiVincenzo missed 29 games with heel bursitis. He registered five points, two rebounds and an assist in eight minutes.