Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Game Thread (Dec. 18)

USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks (12-10) host Paul George and the surging Indiana Pacers (13-11) on Tuesday night.

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This isn't the same Indiana Pacers team the Bucks embarrassed at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Nov. 14. In that matchup the Pacers barely mustered a professional effort for half of the game, but since that ugly loss Indy has prevailed in nine of its last 14 games.

Paul George has scored 15+ points in seven straight games, including five games with 22+ points, and his three-point shooting has been particularly good over that span. The former No. 10 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has connected on 21-of-42 (50%) of his threes in the past seven contests, and he has pulled down at least six rebounds in each of those games. Even more impressive is his recent surge in assists. George has dished out 29 assists during that same period, which works out to more than four per game.

The Pacers typically rely on a balanced scoring attack. David West (17.6 PPG), Paul George (16.4 PPG) and George Hill (14.9 PPG) are the only players who currently post double-figure scoring averages, while Roy Hibbert (38.9% FG) still hasn't broken out of his funk in any definitive way.

So, how have the Pacers managed to thrive? They own the No. 1 defense in the NBA at 96.7 pts allowed / 100 possessions. But how have the Pacers managed to build up the No. 1 defense in the league? They hold opponents to a league-low 52.2% shooting on all shots inside five feet. In other words, the Pacers protect the paint. I'm not sure how they do it, but I'm interested to try and find out.

Check out Indy Cornrows for more on the Pacers.

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