INDIANAPOLIS  (May 23, 2023) – Pacers Gaming opened its 5v5 NBA 2K League season Tuesday night with a tough 81-73 loss at defending 5v5 league champion Bucks Gaming.  The Pacers (0-1) will play their second game in as many nights tomorrow with a 7:00 p.m. home contest with Jazz Gaming.  Indiana also has a game slated for Thursday against Pistons GT.  All games can be seen on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.

Pacers Gaming top draft pick GREENLIGHT (Dylan Sanderson) led all scorers with 33 points and added a team-high seven assists.  Veteran center BIG REIGN (Blaine Wilson) was a perfect nine-of-nine from the field en route to 20 points and a team-high seven rebounds.  CHESS (Kory Taylor) was the only other Pacer in double figures with 14 points to go along with four assists and two steals.  Rookie RANGE (Gil Santiago, Jr.) was two-of-two from three for six points, had an assist, a rebound and two steals while JAYSNAGS (Julio Laboy) did not score but pulled down six rebounds, dished two assists, had a team-high three steals and a blocked shot.  The Pacers got outrebounded 19-14 and suffered 10 turnovers to Milwaukee’s seven.  Both teams shot 64% from the field. COOKS led the Bucks with 29 points while JOHNNYRED added 21 and ONEWILDWALNUT had a double/double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Pacers fell behind early in the contest as the Bucks made their first five three-point attempts to take a 15-8 advantage.  GREENLIGHT had 11 tallies in the first quarter as the Pacers pulled within 25-19 after one quarter. In the second quarter Milwaukee used an early 9-0 spurt to go up, 36-22 but the Pacers responded with a 19-8 run to end the half and trailed 44-41 at intermission.  Milwaukee again started strong early in the third quarter, darting out to a 62-47 lead via a 15-6 run.  Bucks Gaming led by 11 after three quarters, 65-54.  Indiana trailed by as many as 12 points at numerous times in the fourth quarter and battled to pull within seven late, 75-68.  But the defending league champions made some key stops down the stretch to begin their 2023 campaign with a 1-0 record.

“They’re the defending champions,” said Pacers Gaming head coach Cody Parrent. “We had quite the challenge coming out of the gate.  They’ve been there.  We’ve got some young talented guys who hung in there with one of the league’s best.  We’ll watch tape tomorrow; regroup and get ready for the Jazz on Wednesday.  I like how GREENLIGHT showed he can put the ball in hoop against anyone.”