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Pacers recover from blowout to blast Bucks

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers didn't let their loss at Boston on Friday stop them. They were right back in the winning department a day later.

The Pacers used a 25-point third quarter to get some breathing room in their 95-80 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday. The victory made up for a brutal performance against the Celtics the day before.

The Pacers are now 11-3 in their last 14 games. They're 1-2 against the Bucks this season.

"A real quality win against a division opponent that we needed to get a win against," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Limiting ourselves to 13 turnovers was a factor, as was our rebounding, particularly on the offensive glass."

Pacers center Roy Hibbert had his best performance in weeks as he finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, including a career-high 11 on the offensive end. Bucks guard Monta Ellis led his team with 21 points.

"Roy was outstanding on both ends," Vogel said. "His scoring has been sporadic and he's always trying to impact the game in other ways."

The Pacers needed a performance like that from Hibbert after he's failed to live up to his $58 million contract so far this season. He was held scoreless and only had one rebound in the Dec. 29 game at Atlanta. Indiana hopes his best performance in almost two months will jump start him.

"I just wanted to rebound as much as possible both offensively and defensively," Hibbert said. "Luckily those rebounds were coming today."

The Pacers led for nearly the entire first half and went into halftime with a five-point lead. But the Bucks, in particular Ellis, got right back into the game at the start of the third quarter.

Milwaukee scored the first six points of the third quarter to take a one-point lead and force Vogel to call a timeout.

The Pacers came out of the timeout and took control of the game. They immediately went on an 8-0 run of their own to go up by seven points.

"We knew this was going to be basically a must-win situation for us," Pacers forward David West said. "We're fighting to stay even with these guys in the season series and stay ahead of them in the standings. I thought we came out with the right focus."

The Pacers pushed their lead up to 13 points by the end of the third quarter and led by as many as 20 points in the final quarter.

"We've got some issues, especially the last four losses in a row," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "We couldn't make key stops at crucial times and our rebounding was a little suspect."

The Pacers held Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who was averaging 25 points against them in two games this season, to 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

NOTES: Pacers point guard George Hill returned to the starting lineup after missing three straight games with a right thigh contusion. "He still has a little bit of grabbing in his groin," coach Frank Vogel said before the game. "We're hoping the adrenaline will kick in and it will loosen up for him." D.J. Augustin, who was solid in Hill's absence, returned to the backup role... Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova missed the game with a right ankle injury... Pacers rookie Orlando Johnson moved into the rotation after playing well in Friday's blowout loss to the Boston Celtics. "I thought he looked like he belonged (in the fourth quarter against Boston)," Vogel said. "He looked comfortable out there. He's been playing really well in the D-League and in practice." ... The Pacers had six players with at least five rebounds and outrebounded the Bucks 59-39. The 22 offensive rebounds were a season high ... The Pacers have won seven straight games at home, making it their longest streak since winning eight in a row during the 2009-10 season.

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