Jackson, Pacers Easily Handle Bucks
Indiana 112, Milwaukee 88
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 11 (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers made sure there wasn't a major collapse against the Milwaukee Bucks this time.
Stephen Jackson scored 24 points and Fred Jones added 17 as the Pacers posted an easy 112-88 victory over the slumping Bucks, who have lost four of their last five games.
On Wednesday, the Pacers raced to an early lead and kept it, placing five players in double figures.
"When we play together and get good starts, we tend to win games," said Jackson, who scored 10 points in the first period. "I think guys had it in their minds that we took a tough loss to them last time on a buzzer-beater and we came out with a sense of urgency."
Rookie Sarunas Jasikevicius scored 17 points off the bench and Jermaine O'Neal added 16 for Indiana, which shot 56 percent (40-of-71) overall, including 9-of-18 from the arc.
O'Neal's jumper with 7:33 remaining in the second quarter gave the Pacers a 40-33 lead and sparked a 16-6 burst over the next five minutes. Jackson scored six points and O'Neal added four during the stretch.
"Right now, we have to ride the hot hand," said O'Neal, who made 8-of-17 shots. "Jackson and those guys are being very efficient right now and they are making it easier for me to get back on track.
"Stopping people has been the key. When we get stops, it makes it easier to try different things on offense."
Jackson and Jones combined for 30 points as Indiana held a 61-49 advantage heading into the locker room. The Pacers shot an impressive 68 percent (24-of-35) from the floor in the first half.
"We came out, jumped on them, and stayed on top," said Jones, who drilled 7-of-10 shots. "My teammates are doing a good job getting me the open shots and I'm knocking them down. That's the way I should be playing."
"This is how we love to play, up-tempo," Jackson said. "Sharing the ball, pushing it up, and setting our own pace. We can dump it down to the big fella (O'Neal) when we need a bucket, but moving it around gets guys open shots and makes it hard for teams to double-team our post."
Milwaukee's T.J. Ford cut the deficit to 85-76 on a layup with nine minutes left. But Indiana got back-to-back dunks from Austin Croshere and O'Neal and coasted home.
"A team like that, which is known to execute well in the half-court offense, isn't expected to come out and score 110 points," said Ford, who had 16 points and five assists. "Indiana is a team expected to contend in the East and we can't win a game like this with the type of effort we had in the first half. You just can't win that way."
Dan Gadzuric scored 17 points for the Bucks. Star guard Michael Redd struggled, scoring 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting, including 0-of-5 from the arc.
"(In the) first half, we dug ourselves too big of a hole," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "They shot it well, but we didn't do much to take away their looks. They are too good of a shooting team to get the looks that we gave them.
"We competed in the second half and tried to get the lead down, but turnovers kept us from doing that. It was disappointing to play like this after a good win last night."