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Rick Carlisle’s blunt comments following the Pacers’ Game 1 playoff loss

Rick Carlisle’s blunt comments following the Pacers’ game one playoff loss Sunday night

MILWAUKEE (WISH) — The Indiana Pacers on Monday were still in search of their first playoff victory since 2018 after falling to the Milwaukee Bucks 109-94 in Game 1 of their NBA Playoffs first-round series Sunday night in Milwaukee.

The Bucks led by as many as 30 points in the first half before ultimately getting the 15-point victory.

“First half was embarrassing,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “No excuses. We simply have got to come out better. And it was ugly, and we all own it.”

Milwaukee led 69-42 at halftime.

“They looked like the experienced team, and we looked inexperienced,” Carlisle said. “And so, that led to a lot of the problems early.”

The Pacers would give themselves at least a chance heading into the fourth quarter, after outscoring the Bucks by 15 points in the third quarter. But the hole they dug in the first half was just too great.

“Just take the positives from that second half and make sure we can do it for 48 minutes,” Pacers power forward Aaron Nesmith said.

The star of the show on Sunday night was Bucks point guard Damion Lillard. He scored 35 points, all of which came in the first half.

“He’s a great player,” Carlisle said. “We had some confusion, some mix-ups. And he’s an experienced playoff sniper. And he did what he does.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of things, Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton finished with 9 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds, although he only attempted 7 shots on Sunday.

“I just got to be better, and I will be on Tuesday,” Haliburton said.

His seven field-goal attempts were the fewest he’s had in a game since Indiana’s March 1 contest against New Orleans.

“We missed him a couple times tonight,” Pacers center Myles Turner said. “We talked about that even afterwards. The three leaders got together – me and Pascal – and talked about ways to get him going. Tyrese knows it’s not going to be easy for him to get shots off. He is the main focal point no matter what we do in this series or in these playoffs in general. That’s going to be the case. So, it’s about getting him in his spots and put him in position to make plays, which he’s been doing all season.”

One of the few bright spots for Indiana on Sunday was the play of power forward Pascal Siakam, who finished the game with a game-high 36 points while also hauling in 13 rebounds.

“Steady for us, steady presence,” Haliburton said. “He’s been really good in the half-court for us all year. But as a group, we just got to be better around him.”

The last time the Pacers got a playoff victory was during the 2018 opening round of the playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Indiana was swept the following two postseasons, by the Boston Celtics in 2019 and the Miami Heat in 2020.

Game 2 of the series between the Pacers and Bucks is set for Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EDT inside Fiserv Forum.