Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Bucks roll into Indiana looking to beat the Pacers for a third straight time this season. But Milwaukee has also been a mess over the past week, dropping three straight while Indiana has stormed to the top of the Central.
|2012/2013 NBA Season|
|January 5, 2012|
|Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Indianapolis, IN|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|George Hill||PG||Brandon Jennings|
|Lance Stephenson||SG||Monta Ellis|
|Paul George||SF||Luc Mbah a Moute|
|David West||PF||Ekpe Udoh|
|Roy Hibbert||C||Larry Sanders|
|2012/13 Advanced Stats|
Pacers update. Indiana had won six of seven heading into Boston last night, but they shot a miserable 32% from the field on their way to a 94-75 loss to the Celtics, who had themselves lost four straight by at least 10 points. Paul George and David West were both a miserable 4/18 from the field while Indy's only bright spot was Tyler Hansbrough (7/11 fg, 19 pts in 23 min). The Pacers were without starting point guard George Hill for the third straight game (strained groin), though no word quite yet if he'll be back tonight. D.J. Augustin will start if Hill is unable to go.
So which Pacer team will show up tonight? Odds are it will be a defensive one. Frank Vogel's club leads the league in defensive efficiency as well as fg%, 3fg% and eFG% allowed, and even last night they held the Celtics to under their league-leading season average.
But the Pacers have also needed that stingy defense: they rank second-to-last in offensive efficiency thanks to a general inability to make shots (28th in eFG%) and a penchant for turning it over (28th) in turnover rate. Combine that with the Bucks' 25th rankd offense and 8th ranked defense, and you have all the makings of a bricklaying fest in Indianapolis. Hooray!
Bucks struggles. Scott Skiles finally ended the "Marquis Daniels starting" experiment last night against the Rockets, and for at least one half it worked out pretty well. The Bucks rode a unit of mostly bench players (Jennings, Udrih, Dunleavy, Ilyasova and Henson) to a 24-5 run that staked them to a 58-47 halftime lead, only to collapse behind an avalanche of turnovers and missed shots in the third.
"It appeared we just lost focus coming out of the locker room," said coach Scott Skiles. "That was as bad a collapse as I've ever seen and it happened so fast.
"Just turnover, turnover, turnover. It looked like we started going one-on-one instead of moving the ball like we did in the first half. Then when we did get a decent shot at the basket, if we missed, we didn't run back.
"They just ran by us and went down and scored."
The Bucks set a new season-high with 25 turnovers and have now surrendered 115 and 117 points in back-to-back games after going seven straight without allowing more than 96. The one bright spot was John Henson, who followed up Wednesday's 20-point effort with 11 points, 15 boards and two blocks in a career-high 27 minutes. But Henson also hit just 1/5 fg in the second half and Scott Skiles was, ahem, measured in his assessment of the rookie after the game.
"He was OK again tonight," Skiles said. "His talent is obvious. He's got to get into the details of the game. He's got to know the plays. He's got to be able to execute after a timeout.
"He's got to become a better screener. All the things we're trying to impress upon him. But there's no question he's getting better."
Matchups. Mbah a Moute held up rather well against David West when the teams last met in Milwaukee, a 98-83 win fueled by Brandon Jennings' 34 points. That said, starting Udoh at PF shouldn't hurt the Bucks defensively, while moving Mbah a Moute to small forward puts the Bucks' best defender against Indiana's leading scorer in George. The 2010 tenth overall pick has been forced into the role of go-to scorer in Danny Granger's absence, and in the process has not surprisingly seen his scoring efficiency drop to league average levels (52.9% true shooting from 55.5% last year) in the process. Still, the 22-year-old does a bit of everything and has the look of a likely all-star down the road, trailing only West in scoring (16.6 ppg vs. 17.0) while adding an excellent 7.3 rpg and 3.7 apg in addition to 1.5 steals and nearly one block per game.
Injuries. Sam Young (ankle) is out, Lance Stephenson seems to be over his illness (strep throat) and George Hill (thigh) is a game-time decision but Pacers beat reporter Mike Wells says we should expect Hill to start:
George Hill expected to start vs. Bucks and rookie Orlando Johnson will get rotation minutes in the 1st half— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) January 5, 2013
Injury Update: Ersan Ilyasova will also miss the game due to a right ankle injury, according to Bucks PR.
|New York Knicks||31||21-10||.677|
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