Inside the Game: Bucks 112, Pacers 110 100225
Player of the Game
Making his first start since Dec. 30, veteran scored all 17 of his points in the second half and helped spark the Pacers' fourth-quarter comeback.
Points in the paint:
Pacers 40, Bucks 26
Bucks 18, Pacers 15
Pacers 14, Bucks 14
Points off turnovers:
Bucks 9, Pacers 8
Pacers 72, Bucks 69
Bucks 43, Pacers 38
Stat of the Night
The Pacers have lost two in a row at home to the Bucks for the first time since 1989.
The Pacers close out the February schedule Saturday against the Chicago Bulls Saturday in Conseco Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, 1070 The Fan).
The Pacers are getting pretty good at making big comebacks.
They still need quite a bit of work on avoiding the need.
Trailing by 14 with 5½ minutes left, the Pacers rallied with a 17-5 run but could get no closer than the final margin, falling 112-110 to the visiting Bucks before 14,116 Thursday in Conseco Fieldhouse. Indiana eliminated a 23-point deficit Wednesday in Chicago but lost 120-110.
Earl Watson's tip-in with 31 seconds left cut it to 108-106 but the Bucks made four free throws on their final two possessions to close the door.
The Pacers lost their third in a row overall and seventh in eight games to fall to 19-38. They've dropped seven of nine at home, where they're 12-16. The Bucks have their first five-game winning streak since November 2007 and improved to 29-28 overall. They haven't been over .500 this late in a season since 2005-06, Andrew Bogut's rookie year.
O'Brien started a small lineup with T.J. Ford and Earl Watson in the backcourt and Troy Murphy at center and it achieved the desired results early as the Pacers had excellent movement and aggression and led much of the first half. They were up 51-45 late in the second quarter when the Bucks got a spark from reserve Ersan Ilyasova, who scored eight points in a 16-3 run that gave the visitors a 61-54 lead.
The run extended to 24-6 early in the third quarter as the Bucks pushed their advantage to 69-57. It was 87-71 late in the third quarter when the Pacers started chipping away. Luther Head hit a 3-pointer and a jumper to open the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 89-82. The Bucks pushed it to 103-89 but the Pacers made three 3-pointers and converted a three-point play in a 14-3 run, closing to 106-103 on Murphy's 3-pointer with 2:08 left.
After Watson's tip cut it to 108-106, John Salmons pump-faked Rush off his feet, drove and drew a foul, making both free throws with 12.8 seconds remaining. The Pacers caught a potentially huge break when Luc Richard Mbah a Moute fouled Granger on a 3-point attempt with 10 seconds to go, but Granger left the first free throw short, making the other two but leaving the Pacers with a 110-108 deficit.
The Bucks got the ball into Brandon Jennings, who was quickly fouled and made both with 8.7 seconds left. Ford then rebounded Granger's missed 3-pointer in the corner and was fouled by Luke Ridnour, another 3-point opportunity with 1.5 seconds left. Ford made the first two then purposely missed the third but Ridnour emerged with the game-saving rebound.
BY THE NUMBERS
Six Pacers scored in double figures, led by Granger's 21. He was 7-of-15 overall, 0-of-3 from the arc, adding five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Ford scored all 17 of his points in the second half, adding five assists, three rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Murphy scored 16 but pulled just three rebounds. Watson had 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals. Roy Hibbert hit 6-of-7 shots off the bench, scoring 12 points in 11 minutes, and Head scored 10. the Pacers shot 46 percent but and outscored the Bucks 35-20 from the line but were outrebounded 44-36.
Salmons scored 20 to lead the Bucks. Jennings had 18 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Ilyasova had 17 points and five rebounds; Bogut 15 points, 10 boards and two blocks; Ridnour 12 points and eight assists; Jerry Stackhouse 11 points and Carlos Delfino 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. The Bucks shot 49 percent.