Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Bucks
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SCOUTING THE PACERS: The surging Pacers look to win for the seventh time in eight games and avoid losing their seventh straight to the slumping Bucks tonight at the Bradley Center. Indiana (23-28) defeated Minnesota 116-105 on Friday, improving to 6-1 since Frank Vogel took over, and with the lone loss coming against Southeast Division-leading Miami. This stretch has helped the Pacers climb into the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot, pulling within one game of seventh-place Philadelphia, while opening a two-game lead over Charlotte. Indiana seemed headed for a loss against the last-place Timberwolves until Dahntay Jones took over. Jones scored all 19 of his points in the final period to help the Pacers overcome a seven-point deficit. Jones keyed the victory by going 6 of 7 from the field and hitting both 3-point shots. Jones, who played sparingly under former coach Jim O'Brien, has led the Pacers in scoring in two of the last four games. Vogel has also has the offense clicking. The Pacers have reached triple digits in all seven games under their new coach after hitting the century mark in only seven of their previous 23 contests. It could be difficult to reach triple figures against a defensive-oriented Milwaukee team that likes to slow things down, but Indiana is likely more concerned with simply winning. The Pacers have dropped six straight to the Bucks, with five of the losses by four points or less -- including both meetings this year.
SCOUTING THE BUCKS: The Bucks (20-32) are heading in the opposite direction, having lost six of seven to fall from one-half game back of the East's final playoff spot to 3.5 out. Milwaukee is coming off Friday's 89-86 loss to Memphis, and its middling offense has been particularly bad lately, having scored fewer than 95 points in all six games this month. The Bucks and are 5-29 this season when scoring 95 or fewer, compared to 15-3 when reaching 96. On Friday, Corey Maggette led Milwaukee with 22 points - including 20 in the third quarter - while Andrew Bogut finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting.Bogut, who sat out Milwaukee's 94-90 win at Indiana on Nov. 5 with a migraine, had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Bucks' 97-95 home win over the Pacers on Dec. 8, including the game-winning tip-in at the buzzer.
QUOTE MARKS: "It's a confidence-builder when you know when you're going to come in and get minutes. Frank's instilled confidence in everybody." --Dahntay Jones
INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Bucks, Larry Sanders (back spasms) is day-to-day, while Drew Gooden (left foot) and Michael Redd (left knee) are out.
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 8:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 8:00. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.
INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.