1 Game Was All It Took For Charles Barkley To Deliver His Verdict On Pacers vs Giannis-Less Bucks

“They own this team. They don’t fear this team, even with Giannis” is what Charles Barkley believed before Game 1. To be fair, the Giannis-less Bucks seemed to be easy prey for the league-high 123.3-point-averaging Pacers, who had won all but one game against them this season. But the Bucks proved all their naysayers wrong after dominating the Pacers in the postseason opener. The first game of the playoffs saw Damian Lillard impose his will on the Pacers’ defense, scoring 19 points in the opening period and 35 by halftime. That game was enough for Chuck to deliver his verdict on Indiana.

According to Barkley, it is too late for Indiana to fix its defensive holes. In a recent episode of NBA on TNT, when asked how Rick Carlisle’s team can get better next game, Barkley opined, “Well it’s too late to fix it…They’re not going to become a great defensive team now…If Rick Carlisle were to say, ‘Well this is how we going to play defense now.’ I’m like, ‘Well, coach, we ain’t worked on that for 82 games. The way they played the second half, they got to outscore you. That’s their style. Ain’t no changes at this stage of the game.”


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USA Today via Reuters

After a dominant first half by the Bucks, the Pacers’ offense looked much better as they finally settled in and added more pace to their game. Their tempo looked better, and their actions with Pascal Siakam and Tyrese Haliburton were more effective. However, it was not enough since their defense wasn’t cutting it. Even without Damian Lillard on the floor, the Bucks continued to make life hard for the Pacers, ultimately beating them 109-94. However, Shaq has a different take on why the Bucks won.


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Giannis Antetokounmpo’s injury was a blessing in disguise


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Shaquille O’Neal believes that it was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence that led to this impressive Game 1 victory. With Antetokounmpo sidelined due to a strained left calf, it gave others on the team more touches. And, according to Shaq, when you get more touches during a playoff game, especially a home game, it keeps you going. “This may sound crazy but, a lot of times when you don’t have your best player, the other guys get in a better rhythm. Because they touch the ball. Bobby Portis is not used to taking 20 shots when Giannis is on the court…In the playoff situation when you can touch the ball, you are home, you can get into the game,” said the Big Diesel.

Moreover, the Bucks are more playoff-experienced than the Pacers, who haven’t made it past the first round in over a decade. But the Pacers will have a chance to even the series record on Tuesday when the two teams meet for Game 2 in Milwaukee.

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