Bucks-Pacers Preview

The Associated Press

With the recent addition of Evan Turner, the Indiana Pacers seemingly upgraded a roster that has posted the NBA's best record.

The Pacers hope to have an easier time against the league's worst team with Turner playing than they did without him over the weekend as the Milwaukee Bucks try to avoid another blowout in Indianapolis on Thursday night.

Turner was acquired from Philadelphia shortly before last Thursday's trade deadline along with forward Lavoy Allen in exchange for Danny Granger and a future draft choice. Turner wasn't available in time to play Saturday in Milwaukee, where the Pacers (43-13) nearly blew a 22-point lead and led by single digits for most of the second half in a 110-100 win.

His debut came Tuesday versus the Los Angeles Lakers. The small forward played 26 minutes off the bench, scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds in a 118-98 victory.

"My teammates did a great job of getting me acclimated," Turner said. "They calmed me down a little bit and got me to the right situations. Once (we got) things flowing, everything gets easier."

Turner's arrival could bolster the output of an Indiana bench which averages 26.2 points, ranked in the bottom third of the NBA. That unit had 20 points on 7-of-21 shooting Saturday, but with Turner leading the way versus the Lakers, the Pacers' backups scored a season-high 50 points and shot 50.0 percent.

Allen, acquired for his rebounding prowess, grabbed two of the season-high 10 offensive boards collected by Indiana's reserves.

"We're probably one of the deepest teams in the NBA, where one through 15 can actually really play," point guard George Hill said. "It shows that if we continue to move the ball and share the ball like that, it can be anybody's night."

The Pacers have won five straight home games versus the Bucks, including three since the start of last season by an average of 22.0 points. That stretch includes a 104-77 win Nov. 15, part of the Pacers' overall four-game win streak over Milwaukee. Paul George and David West have combined to average 54.0 points in the two meetings this season.

While the Pacers have the league's best home record at 27-3, the Bucks (11-45) had been winless in 10 road games in 2014 before an impressive performance Monday. In a 130-110 victory in Philadelphia, Milwaukee scored its most points in a road game since a 140-133 double-overtime win over Cleveland on Dec. 9, 2002.

The Bucks shot a season-high 57.1 percent from the field Monday and had seven players score in double figures, led by O.J. Mayo with 25.

"In our situation, it's great to get a win any way we can get it," coach Larry Drew said of his team, which is 5-22 on the road.

It was the third game for Mayo after he missed 10 due to illness and conditioning issues, and his highest-scoring performance since Nov. 13.

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