Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (43-13) vs Bucks (11-45)
Scott Agness | February 25, 2014
The Pacers (43-13) return to the court Thursday night, welcoming the Milwaukee Bucks to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the final time this season. They’re currently on a favorable stretch of having four of five games at home, and just one opponent working with a winning record. After disposing of the worst team in the Western Conference (Lakers) on Tuesday, now it’s on to the Bucks, who have the worst record in the Association (11-45).
The Bucks lost 14 of 15 games in January and seven of 10 in February. Most recently, they ended a two-game slide by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that’s spiraling downward. In that game, they piled up a season-high 130 points, two nights after posting 100 in a home loss to the Pacers. That’s quite an improvement, as their offense ranks 29th in both points per game (93.3) and field goal percentage (42.6). Indiana looks to its league-best defense to grab hold of the game and impose its will early on.
On Tuesday, a 118-98 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers, all 13 active players saw the court. Evan Turner quickly brushed off nerves in his Pacers debut, scoring 13 points to lead all reserves. He’s slotted as the backup wing and will share minutes, receiving about 25 minutes per game for himself, with Paul George and Lance Stephenson.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel still has areas he wants to see sharpened. Three points he has been stressing are keeping turnovers low (they had just nine in the last meeting), crashing the boards, and their transition defense.
This will be the team’s third meeting of the season; the Pacers were successful in both of the previous contests. Their final game, in Milwaukee, is the Indiana’s fourth-to-last game of the season — on April 9th.
Bucks: Nate Wolters (probable, left ankle sprain), Caron Butler (questionable, left ankle pain), Carlos Delfino (out, right foot), Larry Sanders (out, fractured orbital bone), Ekpe Udoh (out, right knee swelling)
“We just played them last week and we got to honor their ability to score the basketball. … For the most part, they’re healthy and they’re capable and they’re playing better now than probably than they have all year.” – Frank Vogel on Milwaukee
“We can’t underestimate nobody. We can’t play to the level of competition. We got to play hard every night. Like I said, they have nothing to lose and are going to come in and play hard.” – Lance Stephenson on facing Milwaukee
“We have so many weapons. It’s just that they don’t really need me as much on offense. … We’re winning games and I need to do better on offense but defensively I’m solid.” – Roy Hibbert
- The Pacers have won nine of the last 11 times they’ve played the Bucks, including four straight.
- At 43-13, the Pacers are 30 games over .500 for the first time this season, and they did it quicker than any team in NBA franchise history.
- George Hill was held scoreless in their last meeting, his first game not contributing a point since Jan. 2013.
- Former Pacers general manager David Morway is in his first season as the Bucks’ assistant GM.
February 22: The Pacers got up by double digits in the first quarter and led the entire way of a 110-100 victory last Saturday night. The Pacers shot 50 percent from downtown, turned the ball over just nine times and led by as many as 22 in the win.
With 32 points, Paul George scored at least 30 in consecutive games. David West was an efficient 11-of-16 and had 30 himself. 86 of Indiana’s 110 points came from three players, as Lance Stephenson added 24 points of his own. Brandon Knight paced the Bucks with 30 points, along with eight assists. The Bucks scored 17 second-chance points off of 15 offensive boards and outscored the Pacers 18-1 in transition.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)