Biggest adjustments Bucks must make after embarrassing Game 2 loss to Pacers

The Bucks have to be a mile better.

Photo: Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis Jr all in Bucks jerseys in action

After the surprising blowout victory in Game 1, the Milwaukee Bucks fell back to earth in Game 2 as they succumbed to the Indiana Pacers, 125-108. The Bucks were still feeling the absence of superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo who continues to be sidelined due to a calf strain. There seems to be no firm timetable on his return, so it will be an arduous journey for the Bucks if they want to advance to the next round.

The Pacers have gained home-court advantage in the series, and they have a huge edge with their youth as the turnaround between Games 3 and 4 is less than 48 hours. The raucous fanbase of Indiana will be screaming loudly on Friday night, and it will be difficult for Milwaukee to make it a competitive series without Antetokounmpo on the floor.

There are a plethora of adjustments that must be done by Bucks head coach Doc Rivers, but here are some of the most obvious ones.

Bucks must dictate the tempo of the game

In Game 1, Milwaukee was able to play their style of play for the majority of the night. There were some outliers in the second half when Indiana sliced down the lead, but for the most part, the pace favored Milwaukee. In Game 2, that was not the case as the Pacers converted 55.6% of their field goals, and they scored 125 points with a 65% true shooting percentage.

It was an offensive masterclass by the Pacers, and they were able to push the ball in almost every possession. Damian Lillard exploded in the first half once again, but Indiana was still ahead by five points after the second period. That was a massive cause for concern for Rivers as it turned out to be a disaster with Indiana outscoring Milwaukee 65-53 in the second half.

The assist numbers were incredible for the Pacers as they tallied 38 dish-offs compared to 24 from the Bucks. Even if Tyrese Haliburton has not been himself in the scoring department, his ability to feed Pascal Siakam or Myles Turner has been the perfect recipe for his squad.

Andrew Nembhard was the lone starter who tallied less than five assists in Game 2, so the unselfishness was heavily emphasized by their coaching staff. If the Bucks want to steal a game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, they must cut down the discrepancy in the assists category.

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