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MILWAUKEE -- In the middle of the second quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday night, Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle sensed momentum had swung the Milwaukee Bucks' way and called a timeout to settle his team down. Coming out of the break, Pascal Siakam took it from there. 

Siakam, who said later that he didn't even remember that huddle, scored or assisted on 13 points in the next 5:08, as the Pacers ripped off an 18-10 run to take the lead at the half. They never trailed again, and Siakam finished with a playoff-career-high 37 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in a 125-108 win that evened the series at 1-1.

"Special talent, he really is," TJ McConnell said. "Trading for him, the plays he's making in those moments, that's why you trade for a guy like that. He's been unbelievable in Game 1 and Game 2 and pretty much willed us to get this one. It was a group effort, but he was spectacular."

In the process, Siakam became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1967 to open the postseason with back-to-back games of at least 35 points and 10 rebounds. No one would have predicted Siakam as the next member of that exclusive club, whose only other member is Elgin Baylor, but he has looked legitimately unstoppable so far against the short-handed Bucks. 

As the Pacers head back to Indianapolis, they do so with homecourt advantage in hand and a real belief that they can win their first playoff series since 2014. 

Not only because Siakam has arguably been the best player on the floor, but due to his experience and leadership, which has "100%" rubbed off on his teammates, according to Andrew Nembhard. "Since he's got here he's been a great voice in the locker room, he really understands it and he has a calm, cool demeanor about him that lets everybody else be calm," Nembhard added. 

The Pacers acquired Siakam from the Toronto Raptors in January in a three-team blockbuster that cost them Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, Kira Lewis and three first-round picks. While the steep price raised some eyebrows, the Pacers were confident that Siakam was just the addition they needed. So far, they've been proven correct. 

"He's been to the mountaintop and won at the highest level," McConnell said, which adds a gravitas to the wisdom he imparts. No one else on the Pacers has a ring, and Aaron Nesmith and Jalen Smith are the only other players who have been to the Finals, though Nesmith only played sparingly and Smith didn't see the floor. 

"His experience in the playoffs is so valuable," Carlisle said. "He's not a guy that's gonna get rattled by anything. Never has once since January since we got him."

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While Siakam has often been the teacher since arriving in Indiana, he admitted that he's had to do some learning of his own. He spent most of his career playing with veterans such as Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard and Fred VanVleet. As that crew departed Toronto one-by-one, Siakam had to take on a bigger role. But as someone who describes himself as "not a talkative person," he preferred to lead by example. The Pacers pushed him out of his comfort zone. 

"I thought I was challenged a little bit with this group to continue to talk, and I think it feels better when it feels like your voice is received well," Siakam explained. "Like the guys when you talk are looking and hearing you and it feels like they want to get whatever information that you have. That makes you feel even better, especially for a person like me, like that's not what I do."

The two-time All-Star has enjoyed taking on this added responsibility and wants to continue to grow as a leader. His play on the court will only make that easier, as his preferred method of influence never goes out of style. "The stuff he's talking about, he's going out there and doing," Myles Turner said. 

Siakam averaged 21.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 54.9% shooting from the field with the Pacers after the trade to help them clinch the No. 6 seed. He is at 36.5 points, 12 rebounds and four assists on 64.6% shooting in the playoffs so far. 

His versatile and unselfish game is a perfect fit for Indiana's offense. Though happy to keep the ball moving and able to knock down open shots, he gives the Pacers a legitimate one-on-one option who can create his own shot when necessary. His back-to-back mid-range jumpers in the fourth quarter of Game 2 that put the Pacers up by double-digits were perfect examples. 

On the other end, his length and mobility allows him to guard multiple positions, and he's willing and able to take on tough assignments. The Pacers' defensive rating pre-trade was 119.6, and dropped to 115.5 after Siakam arrived. There were a few factors at play there, but his impact was a major one. 

In just a few short months, Siakam has already become a "mentor" and "a guy that people confide in and look up to," Carlisle said. There was perhaps no better indication of the respect Siakam has earned than his teammates' refusal to divulge what he said to the team between Games 1 and 2. 

"Yeah [he delivered a message]," Nembhard said. "But I'm not gonna tell you guys."