INDIANAPOLIS -- Lose a starter, plug in a former starter and keep on going.
That's what the Indiana Pacers have done. Power forward David West has missed three straight games with a lower back sprain. Tyler Hansbrough, who started at the end of the 2010-11 season, has stepped in and dominated in his absence.
Hansbrough continued his strong play when he scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Pacers' 102-78 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers have won three in a row after dropping four of their previous six games.
Paul George added 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. Monta Ellis scored a team-high 22 points for Milwaukee.
Hansbrough had 18 points and 11 rebounds and 14 points and 14 rebounds against Cleveland and Orlando, respectively, earlier this week in the first two games he started for West.
The Pacers blew the game open in the third quarter. They led 45-43 at halftime, but then went out and outscored the Bucks 28-11 in the third quarter. Milwaukee was only 3-of-22 from the field in the quarter. Hansbrough had half of his points in the third.
The Bucks lost their cool in the second half. Center Larry Sanders was ejected after picking up two technicals in a matter of seconds after getting upset over a foul being called on him. Former Pacer Mike Dunleavy was ejected when he was given a flagrant 2 for a hard foul on top of Gerald Green's head in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: West won't play in Saturday's game at Chicago and coach Frank Vogel said it's unlikely that he'll play in Monday's game against the Chicago Bulls. "He's walking better," Vogel said. "Each day it's been getting better, but not to a level where he can play yet. They're treating it everyday. He needs time heal." ... There's a chance that small forward Danny Granger, out all but five games with a left knee injury, could play during the team's four-game West Coast road trip next week. Granger practiced for about 20 minutes on Thursday. "He looked like he hadn't played in a few weeks, still some rust there," Vogel said. "It's going to take time to get his rhythm and timing back." ... Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute missed his seventh straight game with a sprained toe and forward Ersan Ilyasova missed his fourth straight with a left hip injury.