Pacers top Giannis-less Bucks, end six-game skid

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T.J. Warren scored 35 points as the Indiana Pacers snapped a season-high, six-game losing streak with a 118-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Warren shot 16 of 19 from the field for the Pacers, who exploited the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo and shot a sizzling 61.9 percent from the floor (26 of 42) in the first half.

Former Buck Malcolm Brogdon collected 17 points and 13 assists, Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Myles Turner contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds as Indiana handed Milwaukee just its second loss in 16 games.

Donte DiVincenzo scored a team-high 19 points and Khris Middleton added 17 for the Bucks, who sustained their first loss in six games without Antetokounmpo in the lineup. The reigning NBA MVP sat out his second consecutive contest following the birth of his first child, Liam Charles.

Milwaukee, which shot 24 of 25 from the free-throw line, saw its five-game winning streak halted and fell for the first time in 12 games against a Central Division rival. The Bucks breezed to a 102-83 road win against Indiana on Nov. 16 and recorded a 117-89 home victory over the Pacers on Dec. 22.

Milwaukee turned up the intensity on defense in the second half and benefited from a 22-5 run to trim what had been a 25-point, second-quarter deficit to 82-77 early in the fourth. Sterling Brown, Marvin Williams and Middleton each drained a 3-pointer in the waning moments of the third quarter before the Bucks scored the first six points of the fourth.

Brogdon sank a pair of mid-range jumpers before Jeremy Lamb and Warren each made a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to push the Pacers’ lead to 96-86 with 7:26 remaining. Indiana held a comfortable advantage the rest of the way.

Warren scored eight points to lift the Indiana to a 34-20 lead at the end of the first quarter. Indiana kept its foot on the gas and scored 20 of the first 29 points of the second before seizing a 68-45 advantage at halftime.

The 23-point halftime deficit was the most for Milwaukee this season. The Bucks trailed by 21 at the break in an eventual 121-109 loss against Philadelphia on Christmas Day and by 20 at intermission in a 103-100 setback at Utah on Nov. 8.