A rough western road trip has left the Milwaukee Bucks eager to return home.
The Bucks look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they face the reeling Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee (9-15) lost 119-96 at Golden State on Wednesday, concluding an 0-3 road trip and falling for the seventh time in nine games overall. The Bucks’ only victories during that span have come at home, where they are 5-4 on the season.
“There’s something about home cooking that energizes you,”star shooting guard Michael Redd said of the Bucks, who will return to the road for three straight games after this contest. “We’ll stay positive and we’ll stay focused. This is definitely not the way we wanted to go at the start. We need to turn that around.”
A turnaround could easily start against Indiana (7-15), which has lost five in a row including a 114-110 defeat at Detroit on Friday. The Pacers, though, have won three in a row over the Bucks including the last meeting in Milwaukee, 105-101 on April 4.
While Redd scored 27 points and Richard Jefferson added 17 against the Warriors, defense was the biggest problem for the Bucks, who allowed 116.3 points per game on the road trip. Milwaukee overcame a 14-point deficit to tie the game in third quarter, but was outscored 37-15 in the final period.
“We don’t yet get how hard you have to play and how focused you have to be for a period of time to win an NBA game,” first-year Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. “This is a good group of guys, and we just have to learn that toughness.”
Having played six games since missing 14 with a sprained right ankle, Redd appears to be regaining his comfort level on the court. He’s totaled 50 points and shot 17-for-35 from the field in his last two games.
Redd is averaging 28.9 points in his last nine games versus the Pacers.
While Redd and Jefferson are two of the NBA’s premier scorers, Indiana’s Danny Granger is quickly becoming one
Granger scored a career-high 42 points Friday as Indiana shot a season-high 56.5 percent but committed 21 turnovers.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” said Granger of the Pacers, who are averaging 96.8 points while giving up 109.6 during their current losing skid. “This is very agonizing, because we watch the films and work on stuff, and then we go out and do the same thing to lose the game.”
Granger, whose previous career high was 37 against Charlotte in April, is averaging a team-leading 24.0 points on the season and 21.8 in his last six games versus Milwaukee.
“It was a brilliant offensive performance,” Indiana coach Jim O’Brien said of Granger’s effort Friday. “He put together a great game.”
Granger had 27 points in the most recent meeting between these teams, a 105-97 home win for the Pacers on April 6.