3 Studs and 3 duds from the Milwaukee Bucks' late defeat to the Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Stud - Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez had a solid game at the center position, and there wasn't much to complain about from his performance. Offensively, he has been quietly going about his business, and defensively, he has played well despite the seeming disorganization the Bucks have shown as a whole on that end of the floor.

Last night, he ended with 18 points on 41 percent shooting and hitting three of his 10 attempts from deep. His six rebounds and game-leading four blocks aided the Bucks' defensive play but were not enough to prevent the fourth quarter collapse.

On the season, his scoring has dropped slightly to an average of 13.5 points, and this performance was his fourth highest scoring game of the season. It is hard to tell with Lopez at the minute as his performances are still strong. The Bucks' defensive issues have been well documented, and we know Lopez's strength is on drop coverage.

There is still a long way to go in this NBA season and hopefully they can figure it out defensively. They have the third best offensive rating in the league, but are 22nd in defensive rating and that has to improve if they are to fulfill aspirations of winning another NBA title.

Dud - Cam Payne

Don't want to continue to dwell on the bench unit, but Cam Payne was another that struggled to get anything going last night. Of course, he is entering the game in place of Lillard, so no one is expecting him to perform to that level, but just to help steady the ship somewhat, and he struggled to do so against the Pacers.

Payne finished the game with four points but took nine shots in his 16 minutes on the court, including missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. Just one of those falling could have helped turn the tables or momentum of the game. His -18 +/- doesn't help his case at all from last night and really goes to show how the bench couldn't assert themselves in the game.

Over the season he has been a solid addition to the team in bringing some control off the bench. He is close to hitting 50 percent of his shots and is averaging 43 percent from deep. Just a shame he couldn't follow his averages in last night's defeat.

It was a tough one for the Bucks, with both positives and negatives coming out of the game. They showed great resilience to come from a big deficit at the half and showed real fight to get themselves back in with a Pacers team that is young and full of energy. That youthful energy showed late on, and the Bucks' transition defense really dropped off. The late collapse is something to be concerned about, but their fourth-quarter play has been one of their strengths so far this season. Defensively, there are still problems and hopefully Griffin and his staff can iron those issues out sooner rather than later.

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis and reactions as we delve further into the NBA season.

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