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Bucks score wire-to-wire win over Pacers

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Jumping out to an early lead wasn't a problem for the Milwaukee Bucks last season. Holding on to those leads was another story.

It wasn't a problem Wednesday, though, as Milwaukee opened with a 24-7 run and led a game from start to finish for the first time all season in a 99-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

"Not only getting out to the lead but being able to maintain it, we played some of our best defense of the season in the first half," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "Some of our best offense as well. We moved the ball well, didn't let their bigs get going."

Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis led the way for Milwaukee, each scoring 16 points. Jennings added four assists and a steal. Samuel Dalembert had another good offensive night, scoring 14 points -- all of them in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting -- to match his season high.

After scoring just eight points in the Bucks' first four games, Dalembert has emerged as a force in the paint, averaging 12 points and six rebounds the past three games.

"He certainly was (comfortable) tonight, that's for sure," Skiles said. "I would have put him back in the game if it was close. He was doing a nice job. All he has to do is be active and he has an effect on the game."

The Bucks shot 3-for-16 from beyond 3-point arc, which put a blemish on an otherwise impressive shooting effort. Without the 3-pointers, Milwaukee connected on 35 of 75 attempts (46.7 percent).

"We did a lot of good things," Skiles said. "We were at 47-48 percent (shooting) with eight or nine minutes left in the game. Our guard play was very good, we executed well, set good screens and had the pace we wanted. We did a lot of good things out there tonight."

Despite a fourth-quarter surge into what was an 82-53 deficit through three quarters, Indiana had little go right. The Pacers' five-game winning streak in the series with Milwaukee was snapped.

Playing without Danny Grainger, out for at least the next three months with a bad knee, the Pacers are struggling to put points on the board. That trend continued Wednesday, as Indiana shot just 37.5 percent from the field and hit five of 20 3-point attempts.

"We're not in a flow right now," said Pacers center Roy Hibbard, who finished with seven points and eight boards. "Defensively, we're pretty good, but offensively, it's a struggle right now. We need to get this thing going."

George Hill, Indiana's second-leading scorer at 15.5 points a game, shot 1-for-10 and finished with three points. Tyler Hansborough led the Pacers with a season-high 17 points, and Gerald Green added 13.

The Bucks capitalized on six Indiana turnovers and shot 50 percent (12-for-24) from the field to jump out to a 33-17 lead after the first quarter, with both Jennings and Dalembert scoring eight points.

Milwaukee stretched the lead to as many as 26 points in the second quarter as shooting woes continued to plague the Pacers, who came into the game hitting just 40.1 percent from the field this season. Indiana shot just 32.4 percent (12-for-37) from the field before the break, 8-for-15 from the free-throw line, and the Pacers trailed 60-34 at halftime.

"We're out of sync," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We have a number of guys who are in slumps, and we will get out of it."

NOTES: On the third anniversary of his 55-point game as a rookie, Jennings recorded one steal Wednesday. That stopped his streak of consecutive games with multiple steals at seven. It was the longest active streak in the NBA. ... Ellis and Bucks center Epke Udoh were held out of the team's morning shoot-around due to injuries, but both played Wednesday night. Udoh contributed four points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench. ... Milwaukee forward Drew Gooden was inactive for the fourth consecutive game. ... Forward David West started for Indiana, and he had seven points and nine rebounds. He previously was listed as day-to-day with a sprained right ankle. ... The two teams were involved in some minor altercations over a two-game stretch last season.
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