"I love and I admire the courage and the heart that they're playing with,'' Thomas said after his team had its season-high in points. "They're going after it, and I respect that as a former player and as a coach.''
It was the third overtime victory this season for Indiana, its second over the Bucks.
Ron Artest, who beat the Bucks when he converted a three-point play in the closing seconds of the overtime game in Indiana on Nov. 15, had 12 points, including three in the extra period, to help the Pacers beat the Bucks for the first time in five games at the Bradley Center.
O'Neal, who grabbed 13 rebounds, had his fifth straight game with at least 25 points. He shot 8-for-15 and made 14 of 16 free throws. Tinsley added seven assists and four steals.
"It's great to be a group of guys who are this committed to winning,'' Thomas said. "Although you push them hard, you don't want to break them. But you have to make them understand you're playing for a higher prize.''
Indiana had lost three of its previous four on a six-game road trip.
O'Neal opened the extra period with a short jumper and then added two free throws as the Pacers opened with a 6-0 run that effectively ended the Bucks' chances.
Tim Thomas, who had 19 points for the Bucks, made a layup after O'Neal's two free throws, but Tinsley's 3-pointer with 1:47 to play put the Pacers up 121-116. Thomas scored again for Milwaukee, but Artest split the defense and put back his own miss.
"In OT we got away from what brought us back,'' Michael Redd said. "You can't make mistakes in a close ballgame against a good team.''
Ray Allen had 26 points before fouling out with 16.3 seconds
left in overtime. Sam Cassell added 25, but it wasn't enough as the
Bucks lost for the fourth time in five games.
Miller, who always seems to play his best against the Bucks, had 12 of his points in the third quarter. Earlier on the road trip, Miller went scoreless at Utah, had 10 at Seattle, 12 at Phoenix and was scoreless again at Denver.
With Indiana ahead 112-111, Tinsley was called for a technical foul with 35 seconds remaining in regulation. He pushed Redd under the Bucks' basket as the two scrambled for a rebound.
Allen sank the free throw and Cassell's jumper with 32.8 seconds
left gave the Bucks a 114-112 lead -- the 11th lead change down the
stretch. After a Pacers' timeout, Tinsley worked the ball into
O'Neal who was fouled by Anthony Mason.
O'Neal's two free throws tied the game at 114.
"To be effective in the post, I have to hit my free throws,'' he said.
The Bucks had a chance to win in regulation on Cassell's shot
from the top of the key, but he missed and the Pacers called
timeout. Tinsley then inbounded the ball to Artest, who lost the
ball in traffic.
Kevin Ollie's basket off a pass from Allen capped an 8-0 run and
gave the Bucks a 97-96 lead, their first since early in the game,
with 7:14 left to play.
Bucks F Jason Caffey fouled out with 3:37 to go, but the
officials didn't send him to the bench until Indiana's coach Isiah
Thomas raced down the sideline and got the attention of officials.
... The Bucks had 13 rebounds in the first quarter to the Pacers'
five. ... Redd's layup at the end of the third quarter was reviewed
by the officials. They had signaled no basket, and the call was not