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May 2, 2024 9:16 pm

Bench helps Pacers eliminate Bucks in Game 6

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Obi Toppin scored 21 points and T.J. McConnell added 20 as the Indiana Pacers eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks with a 120-98 victory on Thursday in Game 6 of an Eastern Conference first-round series in Indianapolis.

Toppin contributed eight rebounds and McConnell had nine assists as the sixth-seeded Pacers enjoyed a decisive 50-10 edge in bench points to record a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven series.

Indiana advanced to the second round to face the winner of the series between the second-seeded New York Knicks and seventh-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks hold a 3-2 advantage in that first-round series heading into Game 6 later Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Pascal Siakam scored 19 points, Tyrese Haliburton collected 17 points and 10 assists and Aaron Nesmith had 15 points to send the Pacers to their first playoff series win since 2014.

Indiana shot a robust 54.1 percent from the floor and held a 21-6 edge in fastbreak points to defeat Milwaukee for the fifth time in as many home games during the regular season and playoffs.

Milwaukee’s Damian Lillard scored 28 points in his return from a two-game absence caused by right Achilles tendinitis.

Brook Lopez scored 20 points and Bobby Portis added 20 to go along with 15 rebounds for the third-seeded Bucks, who made just 7 of 27 attempts (25.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Milwaukee played the entire series without two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sustained a calf injury on April 9.

Lillard drained a pair of 3-pointers to help Milwaukee bolt out to a 13-6 lead before Indiana scored 23 of the game’s next 29 points. The Pacers extended their advantage to 59-45 in the last minute of the first half when Toppin converted an alley-oop pass from Haliburton.

The Bucks trimmed the deficit to 85-78 with 1:05 left in the third quarter before Indiana answered by scoring the next 11 points. McConnell had a driving layup and two 3-pointers during that run.

Milwaukee pulled within 14 points before the Pacers countered with six in a row, capped by Ben Sheppard’s 3-pointer with 8:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. The outcome was not in doubt the rest of the way.

–Field Level Media

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