Ersan Ilyasova missed just two shots, connected on five 3-pointers, and scored a career-high 34 points as the Milwaukee Bucks held off a second half charge by the Indiana Pacers to win the Central Division battle, 111-107, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Milwaukee built a 23-point first quarter lead as they began the game on a 34-11 run. During that stretch, the Bucks made 14-of-19 shots, including eight straight, as they won for the second consecutive game. It’s only the fifth win in the past 18 outings.
All five Bucks scored in double-figured, led by Ilyasova. Khris Middleton had 17 points, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 16. As a team, Milwaukee outshot Indiana 53-percent to 42-percent.
The Pacers rallied back to within two in the final 20-seconds and trailed 110-107 when George Hill’s attempt to tie the game rattled out of the basket with less than two seconds remaining. Hill (24) and backcourt mate C.J. Miles (26) combined for 50 points.
Milwaukee returns to .500 with a 36-36 record and maintains its position as the sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bucks trail fifth-seeded Washington by four, while moving 2.5 games ahead of Miami. The loss drops Indiana a half-game back of Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot.Just ten games remain in the regular season for Milwaukee, who will play six of those games on their home floor. The Bucks host West-leading Golden State (58-13) and MVP-candidate Steph Curry on Saturday. Tipoff at 7:30pm.