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Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Milwaukee
SCOUTING THE PACERS: The brutal schedule of March -- 18 games, 11 on the road, six sets of back-to-backs -- finally is behind them and they survived with eighth place intact. Indiana went 8-10 in March and takes a one-game lead over Charlotte and three over Milwaukee into the final two weeks of the regular season. A victory tonight would all-but eliminate the Bucks, leaving them four games back and giving the Pacers (34-42) the tie-breaker. But a loss would cut the lead to two games and give Milwaukee the tie-breaker. The Pacers have won two in a row thanks to hot shooting by point guard Darren Collison, who hit 17-of-20 from the field, and a bench that produced 88 points. Two players that will be particularly glad to see March gone are Danny Granger, who shot 37.8 percent in the month, and A.J. Price, who shot 34.1 percent.
SCOUTING THE BUCKS: Brandon Jennings is trying to carry the Bucks (30-44) into the playoffs. The young point guard has averaged 25.3 points in the last four games, including 25 in a 104-98 victory in Toronto Wednesday. The Bucks have won six of the last seven games from the Pacers, although each of the last five have been decided by five points or less. A strong defensive team, the key to victory has been finding enough offense. The last six times they've scored at least 100 points, the Bucks have won. In their last nine losses, however, they've scored 90 or less.
KEY MATCHUP: When closely matched teams play tight games, it tends to come down to the fourth quarter. In their two losses to the Bucks this year, the Pacers took leads into the fourth quarter but totaled 30 points. In their lone victory, they took a 75-72 lead into the fourth quarter then held the Bucks to 8-of-26 shooting and pulled out a 103-97 victory.
QUOTE MARKS: "We really have an opportunity to knock Milwaukee out and have one less team to worry about." -- Danny Granger
INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Bucks, Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) is out.
TICKETS: Buy now | Collectible Friday (Paul George bobblehead).
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 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 7. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Austin Croshere, with Kevin Lee reporting.
INTERACT: You can chat live with fans around the country in our live game blog which begins at tipoff.