Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out five assists as the Milwaukee Bucks opened up their new home, Fiserv Forum, on Friday with a 118-101 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Antetokounmpo recorded a double-double in the first-half, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds as the Bucks took control after a shaky start and never looked back.
The Bucks’ starting backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon combined for 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. As a team, Milwaukee recorded 27 assists while Indiana only notched 14.
Khris Middleton added 23 points for the Bucks.
Victor Oladipo scored 25 points to lead the Pacers.
With a raucous crowd urging the Bucks on, Milwaukee stumbled out of the block. The Pacers jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Antetokounmpo scored the first points for the home team in its new arena.
It didn’t take long for the Bucks to catch the Pacers, with Antetokounmpo’s driving layup at the 7:28 mark giving Milwaukee the lead for good.
Trailing 20-16, Indiana scored only two points — an Oladipo layup — in the next 2 1/2 minutes while the Bucks opened up a 28-18 lead.
Antetokounmpo put on a highlight-reel dunk show, including a put-back slam that brought the Fiserv crowd to its feet and gave the Bucks a 44-34 lead midway through the second quarter.
Play from both teams was sloppy to open the second half, yet the Bucks were still able to extend their lead to 81-66 on a 3-point shot from Middleton with just under five minutes to go in the third.
Rookie Donte DiVincenzo connected on a 3-pointer and made one of two free throws on the next Milwaukee possession to put the Bucks up 87-68.
Unlike in the season-opening win over Charlotte, when the Bucks wasted a 20-point lead, the Milwaukee defense was stellar in the second half.
The Bucks seemingly contested every possession, holding the Pacers to only 48 second-half points. Indiana shot 43.7 percent (38 of 87) for the game while the Bucks connected on 47.3 percent (44 of 93) of their field-goal attempts.
Milwaukee was 17 of 47 from beyond the arc, with Middleton making 5 of 9 attempts. The Pacers took only 18 3-point shots, making six.
—Field Level Media