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When the dust settled on a wild final day of the regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks had dropped to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Indiana Pacers were left clinging on to the last guaranteed spot at No. 6. This is somehow just the third time that the two Central Division foes will meet in the postseason, and the first since 2000. 

After all that transpired between the two teams this season, perhaps a playoff matchup was always pre-ordained. Ahead of what should be a fascinating series, regardless of when or if Giannis Antetokounmpo returns from his calf injury, here is a brief history of this season's best feud. 

Nov. 9: Giannis drops 54, Griffin ejected in Pacers' comeback win

Nothing controversial happened in this game, but the dramatic and competitive nature set the tone for what would transpire in the coming months. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 54 points, but former Bucks coach Adrian Griffin was ejected before they blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. 

Dec. 7: Haliburton steals Lillard's celebration, Lillard issues a warning, Bucks have locker room spat

A month after their first game, an extra meeting was added to the schedule when the two teams squared off in the semifinals of the league's inaugural In-Season Tournament. Once again, the Bucks were in front in the fourth quarter, but Tyrese Haliburton led the Pacers on a stunning comeback. He sealed the win with a step-back 3-pointer over Brook Lopez, then broke out Damian Lillard's "Dame Time" celebration. 

Lillard largely took the taunt in stride, but did issue the rising star a warning. 

"When you are having your moment, it's important to be careful, to be humble in your moments because you just never know how the tables are going to turn or when they are going to turn," Lillard remarked. "I learned as a kid, when you dish it out, you've got to be willing to take it. For as many times as I've done it to people, I can't be upset when somebody else does it, you know what I mean. I think that's also a sign of respect and acknowledgment for knowing my history and knowing what I do."

If that wasn't enough drama, Bobby Portis reportedly called out Griffin and his teammates in the locker room over their lack of composure and execution down the stretch. Neither Portis nor Griffin would comment on the situation in the coming days. 

Dec. 13: Ballgate

When the two teams squared off again a week later, the Bucks were ready to send a message and the resulting contest was one of the most absurd in NBA history. There was a flagrant foul, multiple technical fouls, an ejection, career-and-franchise-records for Antetokounmpo, a mystery over the game ball and an alleged assault of the Pacers' general manager. 

Antetokounmpo ran up the score in the closing seconds of the Bucks' comfortable win to finish with 64 points, and then chased the Pacers down the tunnel at the final buzzer in search of the game ball. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said later that the team's GM, Chad Buchanan, was elbowed in the ribs by a Bucks player during the hallway scrum, though that was never confirmed. Upon returning to the court, Antetokounmpo then had words for Haliburton, who didn't seem to understand what was going on. 

Later that night, it seemed the issue had been resolved after video showed a Bucks security staffer grabbing the game ball at the final buzzer. The Pacers had a reserve ball that they wanted to give to rookie big man Oscar Tshiebwe in honor of scoring his first official points. Antetokounmpo, however, inflamed matters again by saying while he had a ball, he didn't think it was the real one. 

"I have a ball, but I don't know if it's the game ball," Antetokounmpo said. "It doesn't feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new ball. I can tell, I've played 35 minutes today, I know how the game ball felt. The ball that I have, which I'll take and give to my mom for sure, but I don't know if it's actually the game ball.

"I knew they had the game ball. I didn't think they had the game ball, I knew they had the ball. I don't know how it works, but I assume I cannot just walk into any arena I play in and just take the ball."

Jan. 1: Pacers pull off another comeback

In the lead-up to the fourth matchup, both teams traded comments in the media. "People didn't see the way Indiana acted that night," a Bucks source told ESPN. "You come into our house and take our stuff. Screaming, 'F-you. F-you.' Yeah, how's a guy going to react?"

"It was unnecessary, it was blown out of proportion," Myles Turner added. "They had the ball the whole time. I think that was obvious. So I'll just leave it at that."

"We kind of bullied them that game," Portis said. "I think they felt that presence. When a team beats you twice, you don't want to let them beat you three times because now they think they can play with you. We played with a sense of urgency. We were more physical, we were hitting them. I don't think they liked that."

While that may have been true, the Pacers were ready this time around. After trailing early, they stormed back in the second half and pulled away down the stretch for their third win of the season over the Bucks. 

"This is a game that everybody was prepared for and everybody was ready for," Haliburton said. "Again, I think their words were 'We weren't ready for them physically.' I think we were ready for them today."

Jan. 3: Pacers win again behind Haliburton

Just two days later, the teams met for a fifth time in Indianapolis. This one was all Pacers, as they cruised to an 18-point win with a dominant second half. Tyrese Haliburton was once again unstoppable, finishing with 31 points and 12 assists. Over the five games versus the Bucks, Haliburton averaged 27 points, 5.8 rebounds and 11 assists on 53.2% shooting from the field. Even more impressive, he had just seven total turnovers in 176 minutes. 

Jan. 5: Beasley promises revenge

Shortly after the Pacers secured a 4-1 record in the season series, Bucks guard Malik Beasley did an interview with Chris Haynes and was asked about the rivalry between the teams. He predicted a playoff meeting and promised revenge

"I think it comes down to, for us, how they got our number, there's certain teams that just [have] your number," Beasley said. "We're still trying to figure that out because I know we're gonna play them in the playoffs and, boy, it's not gonna be pretty. It's not gonna be pretty for them. 

"This reminds me of Memphis-Minnesota, Lakers-Memphis, we played them four, five times a year, and then we played them in the playoffs. The way the league's shaping up right now, I think we're gonna play them in the playoffs at 2-7 or 1-8. So we'll see."