LAS VEGAS — Tyrese Haliburton scored 27 points and the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 128-119 on Thursday to advance to the championship game in the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.
On Saturday night, the Pacers will face the winner of the second semifinal between the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans.
Myles Turner added 26 points for the Pacers. Obi Toppin had 14 on 6-of-8 shooting, Isaiah Jackson chipped in 11 and Bruce Brown had 10.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee. Damian Lillard added 24 points, Khris Middleton had 20 and Brook Lopez 18.
Down three after three quarters, the Pacers opened the fourth with a 14-8 run to take a 105-102 lead. Turner, Brown and Haliburton accounted for 17 points during a game-ending 21-13 run.
After scoring a season-high 146 points and making 23 of 38 3-pointers in a quarterfinal victory over New York, the Bucks were 12 of 33 on 3s and 43 of 96 overall from the field.
CELTICS: Boston got good news on the injury front on Thursday after big man Kristaps Porzingis was upgraded on the team’s injury report for Friday’s game against the Knicks. Porzingis has missed Boston’s past four games with a calf injury but was listed as probable.
Porzingis scrimmaged on Wednesday with teammates and coaches and seemed optimistic about his chances of playing on Friday. Just how big of an opportunity he could have in his return remains to be seen.
“I’m not a big fan of the minutes restriction,” Porzingis said. “I always, when I’m back, I want to be back and play full minutes. But we’ll see. Of course, they have a plan and we’ll see what kind of feedback I get after today and go from there.”
Porzingis last played on Nov. 24 when he suffered a calf strain in the second half of a loss to the Magic. Boston has gone 3-1 in his absence with Al Horford taking over starting center duties but Boston fell to the Pacers during an in-season tournament quarterfinal game on Monday. Not being able to help his teammates during the high stakes regular season contest was painful for the veteran big man.
“Of course everybody was a little bit upset and mad at ourselves for not getting it done,” Porzingis said. “But, me especially, not being able to help out there. And it hurts, it hurts. Especially knowing the vision that we had. But this is how it goes and that’s it. As I said, we’ll be back.”