The 21 attempts were the fourth fewest in a 50-point game in NBA history.
"The efficiency ... it's ... it's ... it's Giannis," Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He's special. It's hard to fathom scoring 50 on 21."
It marked the first time Antetokounmpo has scored 50 points since Game 6 of last year's NBA Finals, when his performance helped seal the championship for Milwaukee. It was the first time he has hit 50 in the regular season since November 2019 (and third time in the regular season overall).
Antetokounmpo's 50 points are his season high, and he also added 14 rebounds and 4 assists, making him just the third player in NBA history to have 50 points and 10 rebounds while also shooting 80% from the field, joining Wilt Chamberlain (four times) and Karl Malone.
"It's special seeing it in person," Bucks forward Jordan Nwora said. "What's really crazy about it is that he makes it look so easy. I think I looked at him when he scored his 50th point, crowd cheering, and it's like, 'Man, he's barely sweating.' Still full of energy in the locker room after he does it. It's just part of being one of the greatest ever to play."
Antetokounmpo did most of his damage Tuesday from inside the paint, punishing the Pacers for 26 points there, while matching a season high with seven dunks.
And when Indiana sent him to the free throw line, he knocked those down, too, finishing 14-of-18 from the stripe.
"I get upset when I miss free throws," Antetokounmpo said. "Like, I work too hard. I love when I make my free throws. It gives me rhythm, it makes me feel good. I can miss every 3, I can miss a layup, but when I make my free throws it's like my dopamine hit because I work extremely hard to make them.
"It just makes the game easier, it makes me able to drive the ball all the time. I'm excited to go to the free throw line, and I don't second-guess myself anymore."
After missing Monday's loss to the Trail Blazers with a left ankle injury, Antetokounmpo said he felt much better Tuesday and didn't expect the injury to linger going forward. He scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and made all seven of his shots from the field, the most field goal attempts without a miss in the final quarter by any player this season.
Antetokounmpo did miss his final three free throw attempts on the night, which would have given him a chance to best his career high of 52 points. But while he was aware of the missed opportunity, he wasn't worried much about the chance to set a personal best.
"Obviously it's a nice feeling to have 50, you always remember it, but I care about winning," he said. "I want to win games. Fifties, 40s, 30s all those things, accolades are going to come, but they only come with winning. If your main focus, your No. 1 thing is winning, you do whatever it takes to finish the game. Sometimes it's, shoot more. Sometimes you've got to defend more. Everything else comes, but if you're thinking about let me get 50, let me get mine, it doesn't work that way. You've always got to focus on winning."