Milwaukee (11-14) at Indiana (9-16)

Fair Currently: Indianapolis, IN
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Dec 21, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks both felt the sting of last-second losses Saturday night.

They’ll try to bounce back Monday night when the Bucks try to end their nine-game losing streak at Conseco Fieldhouse in the first of four meetings this season between the Central Division rivals.

Both teams had chances Saturday to salvage a split of a Friday-Saturday back-to-back. Indiana (9-16) lost 107-94 at Memphis on Friday before falling 100-99 at San Antonio the next night.

T.J. Ford(notes) missed a jumper at the buzzer Saturday for the Pacers after Roy Hibbert(notes) allowed Tim Duncan(notes) to dunk over him for the winning basket with 4.6 seconds left.

“You’re going to make some and you’re going to miss some,” said Ford, who played his first two seasons with Milwaukee. “The coaches and my teammates have the belief that I can get that shot off. I got it up, I had the opportunity but it just fell short.”

Milwaukee (11-14) has lost three straight after enduring frustration in its back-to-back set of games. The Bucks fell 85-82 at Cleveland on Friday before a 96-95 home loss to Sacramento the next night.

Ersan Ilyasova’s(notes) basket with 5 seconds left put the Bucks up by one before they allowed Kings rookie Tyreke Evans’(notes) layup with 0.9 seconds remaining. Andrew Bogut(notes) missed a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left for Milwaukee.

“Obviously, you need those to go down,” coach Scott Skiles said. “But I would not feel a whole lot different had we won the game. If we make a basket in the end and win that game I don’t go home and break out the pom poms and start cheering.”

The home team won all four meetings last season, and Milwaukee hasn’t won at Indiana since Dec. 7, 2004. Ford averaged 22.0 points in the two wins for Indiana in 2008-09.

The former Bucks point guard will get his first chance to face the player Milwaukee is currently trying to build around in rookie Brandon Jennings(notes). Jennings leads all first-year players with a 20.3-scoring average, although he’s shooting 34.4 percent over his last 14 games - 11 losses for the Bucks.

There’s a direct correlation to his poor shooting and Milwaukee’s current slide. Jennings shot 47.9 percent and averaged 25.3 points during the Bucks’ 8-3 start.

Indiana has lost four of seven while playing without leading scorer Danny Granger(notes), who is sidelined with a foot injury.

Without Granger, the Pacers are looking for others to step up. Hibbert played well Saturday as he matched his career high with 20 points and added a career-best six blocks.

“Roy played solid basketball tonight with six blocked shots and he did a really nice job in the low post for us,” coach Jim O’Brien said.

While Jennings appears to be a success for Milwaukee, Indiana’s top draft pick Tyler Hansbrough(notes) has turned in mixed results. The 6-foot-9 Hansbrough, who helped lead North Carolina to the 2009 NCAA title, is averaging 9.0 points on 37.2 percent from the field while reaching double figures in rebounds once.

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Monday, Dec 21