Damian Lillard scores 35 as Bucks top Pacers in Game 1

Damian Lillard scored all 35 of his points in the first half to fuel the host Milwaukee Bucks to a 109-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series.

Lillard made 11 of 24 shots from the floor and 6 of 11 from 3-point range for the Bucks, who outscored the Pacers 39-21 in the second quarter. Milwaukee hosts Indiana in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Khris Middleton collected 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Bobby Portis added 15 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out while starting in place of Giannis Antetokounmpo (left calf). Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP, has sat out the team’s past four games.

Pascal Siakam recorded 36 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who missed their first 14 attempts from 3-point range and finished 8-of-39 from beyond the arc. Myles Turner added 17 points and eight rebounds, and T.J. McConnell had 10 points off the bench.

Tyrese Haliburton made a long jumper to trim Indiana’s deficit to 20-19 in the first quarter before Malik Beasley drained a 3-pointer and Pat Connaughton converted a four-point play. Lillard capped his 19-point first quarter with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Bucks turned it on in the second quarter. Jae Crowder made a layup after a defensive breakdown by Indiana to cap a 10-0 run and give Milwaukee a 44-23 lead with 7:37 left in the first half.

A rested Lillard returned to the court with a vengeance. He drilled 3-pointers on consecutive possessions before converting again from 3-point range and adding a layup to extend the Bucks’ advantage to 58-29 with 3:02 left in the second quarter.

Lillard converted a four-point play to extend Milwaukee’s lead to 65-35 with 1:23 remaining before adding a pair of free throws to cap his 35-point performance in the first half.

The Bucks’ 27-point halftime lead was trimmed to 12 after the Pacers capped the third quarter with a 9-0 run. Milwaukee, however, regained its comfortable advantage by going on a 16-6 run to start the fourth quarter, capped by a 3-pointer from both Crowder and Beasley and a mid-range jumper from Middleton.