Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Pacers work their way past Bucks

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- When Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert grabbed an offensive rebound and then buried a jump shot late in Thursday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, you could almost hear a collective gasp at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Hibbert's basket with 1:18 left gave the Pacers a nine-point lead on the way to a 101-96 victory over the ready-for-battle Bucks.

Remember, this was a matchup of teams with the best and the worst records in the Eastern Conference. If so, the Bucks were not buying it.

"You can't look at records," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "This team (Milwaukee) is playing better than they have all year."

In the end, it was Hibbert that carried the Pacers (44-13) to their fourth win in five games and three straight this season over the Bucks. Hibbert scored a game-high 24 points and had 12 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season.

"A couple days ago, I went 1-for-9," Hibbert said of last Saturday's game in Milwaukee. "So this is just one of those games and I'm happy it happened."

The Pacers rallied from a six-point deficit in the third quarter. Hibbert began to take charge in the quarter with eight points and two offensive rebounds.

"Hibbert is just that type of player," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "You're not going to completely shut him down."

Forward Paul George added 18 points and a game-high six assists for the Pacers. Indiana guard Lance Stephenson also scored 18 points.

Guard Brandon Knight led the Bucks (11-46) with 23 points. Forward Khris Middleton added 22 points and forward O.J. Mayo came off the bench to score 14.

Evidence of a difficult night was on display in the Indiana locker room after the game when guard George Hill emerged from the trainers' room with an ice pack on his shoulder. Hill said he was fine and is day to day.

The win kept the Pacers two games ahead of Miami in the race for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

"I don't care what Miami is doing," Hibbert said.

And in the midst of the battle against Milwaukee, the Pacers did not have time to worry about the Heat because the Bucks were bringing plenty of their own heat.

Mayo came off the Milwaukee bench and put on a shooting clinic in the second quarter. He hit three consecutive 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the first seven minutes of the quarter, closing a 15-point Pacers advantage to three.

Vogel said the Pacers' defense was not to blame.

"Somebody's in his face and he still shoots it," said Pacers guard Evan Turner, who played his second game since being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Bucks gave the Pacers fits by hitting half of their 3-point shots. Mayo, Knight and Middleton each made three. Middleton only missed once.

"They're looking you in the eye and putting shots in your face," Vogel said. "I don't think our guys let down at all. They just came out bombs away and hit everything."

That's not the way the game started. The Pacers hit eight of their nine shots from the field and grabbed a nine-point lead less than six minutes into the game. George led the fast-paced attack with nine points and four assists in the first quarter as the Pacers pulled ahead 30-15.

But the Bucks answered, slowing the Pacers fast-break attack and hitting outside shots. Instead of folding, Milwaukee forced Indiana into 19 turnovers while still being outrebounded 47-35.

"We're still a team that's pretty much trying to find something to hang our hat on," Mayo said. "We're a young team that is still learning and we just have to keep getting better every day."

NOTES: Pacers C Andrew Bynum continues to work out with the team in practice, but coach Frank Vogel is not sure when Bynum will play in a game. Bynum, who is recovering from a knee injury, signed as a free agent on Feb. 1 after the Chicago Bulls waived him. "We know what we can expect from him when he's healthy and in shape. He'll be one of the best centers in the NBA," Vogel said. ... The Pacers rank No. 1 in the NBA with 35.2 defensive rebounds per game. ... In terms of playing time, the Bucks have the second youngest lineup in the NBA, trailing only the Philadelphia 76ers. Their starting lineup on Thursday night included three 22-year-olds: G Brandon Knight, F Khris Middleton and G Nate Wolters. ... Bucks F Jeff Adrien has been coming strong off the bench. For the first time in his career, he posted back-to-back double-figure rebounding games against Indiana and Philadelphia.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (0)