Gabriel Jason Pascual

TJ McConnell and Obi Toppin led The Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference semifinals as they combined for 41 out of the Pacers’ 50 bench points to dominate the Milwaukee Bucks and book their early trip home, 120 - 98, at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse at Indianapolis, Indiana, May 3.

Photo Courtesy of Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports

McConnell’s electrifying 2nd half scoring, alongside Obi Toppin and their picture perfect ball movement suffocated the helpless Milwaukee defense to put the final nail on the coffin.

Stepping up to the plate with 20-points and 9-assists, TJ McConnell led the Pacers bench to take advantage of Milwaukee’s lackluster second unit.

TJ McConnell came alive late in the first period as he put up 6 points to spearhead Indiana against a swinging Milwaukee Bucks offense.

Obi Toppin provided a jolt of electricity behind his 21 points and 8 rebounds to push the Pacers’ lead to take a life of its own by the 4th quarter, 

With a quest to keep their season alive, Damian Lillard spearheaded Milwaukee and opened the game with picture perfect passing  to take on a 10-3 lead.

After missing games 4 and 5 with an achilles injury, Lillard activated Dame Time by putting up 28-points, but was still not enough to make up for the Bucks’ stagnant team offense.

Finding the man in every possession, Indiana’s resident pace master in Tyrese Haliburton led the pact in an early run and never looked back as the Pacers’ lead ballooned to 12 at the end of the first half, 59-47.

Haliburton dropped 17-points with 10-dimes alongside Pascal Siakam’s mid range mastery that earned him 19-points.

As the Pacers secured their first series win in 10 years, they put the Bucks in an unfavorable but familiar exit that mirrored their fate last year.

One of the Pacers’ unsung heroes in Toppin stated, “Our bench has been great all season long, appreciate this guy (McConnell) for that," praising McConnell’s taking over of the reins and continues, "Everybody on our team knows their job, and we just give 110 percent,” reflecting on the team’s unselfishness throughout the whole season.

The Pacers are now looking forward to the second round as they match up with the New York Knicks to relive a historic rivalry.