NBA: Haliburton wins Game 3 in OT for Pacers to lead Bucks 2-1 in playoff series

NBA: Haliburton wins Game 3 in OT for Pacers to lead Bucks 2-1 in playoff series

Tyrese Haliburton had less than seven seconds on the clock in overtime at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Friday night, but the 24-year-old was unperturbed as his three-point play sealed a 121-118 win for the Indiana Pacers over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of their series.

The Pacers guard endured tough games 1 and 2 as he finished with a combined 21 points, and Game 3 wasn’t much different as he was 8 of 22 from the field and 1 of 12 from the 3-point line, but he found other ways to impact the tie and lead his team to victory.

Haliburton finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 16 assists for his first triple-double of the postseason in his first home playoff game. With 1.6 seconds on the clock, he hit a floater, got a foul call, and made the resulting free throw to lift Indiana to the win and put them 2-1 up in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Bucks.

“It was a really fun game and overtime, what more could you ask for?” Haliburton said. “It was a really fun atmosphere.”

“You know I was going to shoot it, no matter what,” Haliburton said about his game winning play. “What I was going to get was really based off of feel. Khris [Middleton] pushed Pascal [Siakam] up to tell Patrick [Beverley] to go under and as soon as I saw Patrick kind of turn his head, I reacted and everything opened up across the middle and I finally made a shot. I couldn’t buy a bucket tonight.”

Myles Turner poured in playoff career highs of 29 points and nine rebounds; Pascal Siakam, who carried their offense in the first two games of the series, finished with 17 points and nine rebounds; Andrew Nembhard had 16 points; Aaron Nesmith added 13 points; and Obi Toppin came up with 15 points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Pacers, in their first home playoff game since April 2019, got their first back-to-back postseason wins since winning three straight in the 2014 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Washington Wizards, and their first series lead in the playoffs since Game 3 of a first-round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Bucks, who are still without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a left calf strain, lost for the second straight game in the series despite Khris Middleton’s playoff career night, where he finished with 42 points and 10 rebounds.

Middleton, who was initially doubtful for Game 3 after missing training on Thursday due to a sprained right ankle, had an eventful game. He hit the 3-point shot that forced overtime with 1.4 seconds to go in regulation; he banked in a 3 to tie the score in overtime with 6.7 seconds left and then unfortunately missed a 3 at the buzzer, failing to send the game to double overtime after Haliburton put the Pacers in the lead.

Damian Lillard had 28 points and eight assists, holding on to the end of the game after being bruised and battered after hurting his left knee in the first quarter and then aggravating an Achilles tendon injury late in the fourth quarter.

Bobby Portis finished with a 17-point and 18-rebound double-double, Brook Lopez scored 14 points, and Beverley finished with 11 points for Milwaukee, whose five starters scored in double figures.

Indiana hasn’t won a series since reaching the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, and they would be hoping to change that as they look forward to Game 4 at home on Sunday night against the Bucks, who have a 2-6 win-loss record against the Pacers this season.

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