Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: IND vs MIL

Scott Agness | March 19, 2013

Matchup

The Pacers haven’t faced the Milwaukee Bucks in almost two months, 35 games ago. The Bucks are one of three Central Division foes that the Pacers have on their radar this week. Just below the streaking Miami Heat, the Pacers are second in the Eastern Conference – five games ahead of the Chicago Bulls, who they’ll see on Saturday night.

After home wins over Orlando and Portland, the Bucks lost in Atlanta on Wednesday. Their game against Orlando had an extra meaning because of their trade deadline deal made for the rights of J.J. Redick.

Related: A Learning Process for Hansbrough »

Redick, a sharpshooter the Pacers had interest in acquiring but whose price was too high, is on the final year of his contract and so he was a valuable trading asset for the Magic. The Bucks also acquired Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith in the deal. Redick’s numbers are down since joining the Bucks – 13 points, 2.8 assists and a few less shots per game. That’s in part because he joined the excellent existent backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the only two Bucks to play – and start- in every game this season.

Ellis, the leading scorer on the team at 19.6 points per game, is one of five players averaging double figure numbers. Jennings totals 18 points and seven assists per contest. Center Larry Sanders is averaging a league-leading 3.07 blocks per game this season. Roy Hibbert’s 2.7 blocks per game average ranks fourth.

The Pacers' stingy defense, which is second in the NBA in points allowed (89.75), should target that number because the Bucks are 0-13 this season when failing to score at least 90 points.

David West's lower back continues to be very sore and Frank Vogel said it’s very unlikely that West, who’s missed the last two games, plays in either game this weekend. Tyler Hansbrough has averaged 17 points and 11.6 rebounds in West's three absences this season. Danny Granger has resumed heavier activity this week but certainly won’t play this weekend.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings

Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis

Marquis Daniels

Marquis Daniels

Samuel Dalembert

Samuel Dalembert

Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), David West (doubtful, lower back sprain)
Bucks: Ersan O’Ilyasova (out, left hip pain), Luc Mbah a Moute (out, sprained toe)

Quoteworthy

"We felt like we were going to make the playoffs with the record we have but it’s always good seeing that 'X' next to your team’s name in the standings. Honestly, it doesn’t really change that much. We’re competing not to make the playoffs, but to win the 2-seed, and to win our division. The fact that we’ve clinched doesn’t really change our focus." – Frank Vogel on clinching a playoff berth

"Encouraging. We’re hopeful to get him back playing as soon as possible. Obviously, not the next two games. He has increased activity and it’s good to see him back out there playing live." – Frank Vogel on Danny Granger, who practiced for about 20 minutes on Thursday

"We knew we’re one of the best teams in the NBA. It's good for the fans to know that, but we have work to do. We knew we were supposed to be here." – Roy Hibbert on clinching

"We’re going to have a tough stretch with Milwaukee and Chicago. We have our hands full. Milwaukee plays a different style but we’ve been practice, preparing, and we’ll worry about the game after that later." – Roy Hibbert on this weekend’s back to-back games.

Noteworthy

  • The Bucks won the first two matchups this season, both in Milwaukee, but the Pacers took the last game.
  • Two Milwaukee players once played for the Pacers -- Mike Dunleavy (2006-11) and Marquis Daniels (2006-09).
  • Bucks head coach Scott Skiles was born in Indiana and played high school ball at Plymouth High School.

Last Meeting

Returning to the lineup after missing three games due to a strained right groin, George Hill helped the Pacers win their first game in three tries this season over the Bucks, 95-80. Roy Hibbert owned the paint; he scored 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds – a career-high 11 on the offensive end. The Pacers held the Bucks to 30 percent shooting in the second half and used a 16-5 spurt in the third quarter to pull away.

George Hill scored 14 points in his return and both Lance Stephenson and David West had 10. Monta Ellis led all scorers with 21 points and Larry Sanders finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Pacers were brutal from long-distance, shooting a season-low 15 percent (3-of-20).

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)/>

Next Up

The Pacers travel to Chicago for a Central Division showdown with the Bulls on Saturday night, before returning home to host the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

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