Friday, November 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: Pacers vs Bucks

Scott Agness | Updated: November 14, 2013

Matchup

The Pacers return to the hardwood Friday night after going three days between games. The Milwaukee Bucks (2-5), who are at the bottom of Central Division, make their first appearance of the season to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and they do so with a much different looking team.

Over the summer, the Bucks hired Larry Drew, the Atlanta Hawks’ former coach, to lead the team and replace Jim Boylan, their interim coach. They then drafted Nate Wolters in the second round and he’s been their starting point guard in five games thus far. Monta Ellis moved on to Dallas, O.J. Mayo signed with the team and they completed a trade with Detroit – acquiring Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, Viacheslav Kravtsov, who they then sent to Phoenix with Ish Smith for Caron Butler.

In their third straight loss on Wednesday, the Bucks only had eight players in uniform due to a laundry list of injuries. They will likely be in a similar situation against the Pacers.

The Pacers, who remain the last unbeaten team in the league at 8-0, spent the last few days watching tape and fine-tuning different sets. With five games in seven nights, they hadn’t practiced in nearly a couple weeks. Lance Stephenson looks to continue his impressive start after tallying a double-double in Monday’s game. This season, he’s averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists – all career high averages and he’s leading the team in assists per game.

This is a game that should easily belong to the Pacers, but it’s imperative that they keep their focus on the task at hand. They can’t be looking ahead to their game in Chicago the next day, the three days between games that follow or what could be a 10-0 record. This squad is mature and talented enough to where they should dissect the Bucks for their ninth straight win.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

Paul George

Paul George

David West

David West

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Nate Wolters

Nate Wolters

O.J. Mayo

O.J. Mayo

Caron Butler

Caron Butler

Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton

Ekpe Udoh

Ekpe Udoh

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, strained left calf)
Bucks: Zaza Pachulia (probable, sore right foot), Gary Neal (game-time decision, sore left foot), Luke Ridnour (game-time decision, back spasms), Carlos Delfino (out, right foot surgery), Ersan Ilyasova (out, sore right ankle), Larry Sanders (out, right thumb surgery), Brandon Knight (out, sore right hamstring)

Quotable

“It’s a good start, we’re setting our goals high and we’ve achieved nothing yet. That’s all it is. It’s a good start and we have to keep going.” – Frank Vogel on opening the season 8-0

“He’s a big time shot-blocker, and a big time player. Obviously, it limits them but they have other guys in there that can go. We’re gonna have to play a good game Friday night.” – Vogel on the absence of Larry Sanders

“We have to take the game like they the Heat. We can’t play them like they the Bucks. We got to play them as if they’re higher than what they are. We are going to take that game very seriously.” – Lance Stephenson

“He’s coming off major knee surgery and then he’s dealing with a calf strain. That’s not something you want to push and have linger. We understand that it’s going to be a process until he’s pain free. In the meantime, we’re doing OK.” – Vogel on Danny Granger

Noteworthy

  • Roy Hibbert has 35 blocks thus far, exactly half of the league-leading Pacers' total and more than 14 other entire teams.
  • Paul George joins Wilt Chamberlain and Dave Bing as the only players in NBA history to win all of first eight games of a season and score at least 20 points in each contest.
  • Bucks guard Nate Wolters, a second-round pick in June, is top five among rookies in points, assists, free throw percentage and minutes.
  • Bucks assistant Bob Bender played college ball at Indiana University and was part of the NCAA’s last unbeaten team in 1976, before finishing his career at Duke.

Last Meeting

March 22: The Pacers turned in a dominating performance led by their defense, which limited the Bucks to 30.7 percent shooting in their 102-78 win. Six Pacers reached double figures, led by Tyler Hansbrough’s 22 points and 12 rebounds. David West sat out his third straight game due to a lower back sprain. Though the Bucks turned the ball over just nine times, they had a rough night offensively – scoring just 11 points in the third quarter.

Paul George scored 20 points and three Pacers bench players finished with 10 each. Monta Ellis tallied 20 points, while Samuel Dalembert added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Brandon Jennings was held to a season-low four points on 1-of-15 shooting. Ellis and Dalembert are now in Dallas, while Jennings plays for Detroit.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

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

Ticket Information

Limited seats remain for Friday's Central Division showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks. Secure your seats now before time runs out. Secure Seats »

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