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Pacers/Bucks: Preview

Pacers (19-24, 10-14 road, 8th East) @ Bucks (16-26, 11-7 home, 11th East)

Gametime: 7:00 pm CT
TV: Watch for Free Streams/League Pass/NBA Broadband
Radio: 620 WTMJ/Stream Free @NBA.com

Bucks Stats: Offense 20th (101.2 pts/100 poss), Defense 27th (107.7), Rebounding 13th (.504 rr), Pace 21st (93.3)
Pacers Stats: Offense 19th (101.5 pts/100 poss), Defense 11th (102.7), Rebounding 19th (.500 rr), Pace 2nd (101.4)

Bucks Lineup: Mo Williams / Michael Redd / Bobby Simmons / Yi Jianlian / Andrew Bogut
Pacers Lineup: Jamaal Tinsley / Kareem Rush / Danny Granger / Mike Dunleavy Jr. / Jeff Foster

Bucks Injuries: Mo Williams (pinkie) missed the game against the Suns and is day-to-day. Desmond Mason is out at least a couple more weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Pacers Injuries: Jermaine O'Neal has missed three straight games with a sore left knee. Troy Murphy is day-to-day with a bruised knee. Travis Diener is day-to-day with a sprained foot. Marquis Daniels is day-to-day with swelling in his left leg.

07/08 Series: Pacers 4-0. The Bucks lost 102-100 on Nov. 18, 2006 at the Bradley Center. They fell again three days later in Indianapolis, 93-88. The Pacers beat the Bucks in double overtime 136-129 at Conseco Fieldhouse on Feb. 21, 2007. On April 11, 2007, the Bucks lost again, at home, 104-98.

Key Points:

  • The Pacers lost 108-95 to the Bulls last night. Danny Granger, who fell to 17th in the 2005 draft despite being pretty much uniformly regarded as better than the 17th best player, poured in 33 points, seven rebounds, and four assists for the Pacers.
  • The Pacers are clinging to the final playoff spot in the East at 19-24. The fact that two sub-.500 teams are on track to reach the postseason helps sum up the sad state of the Eastern Conference. What's even more bizarre is that in the Western Conference, the Jazz, Rockets, and Kings are all on the outside looking in. This was supposed to be the year the East started closing the gap. Instead, the West has further asserted its dominance. Honestly, who doesn't think the Jazz would challenge for a top three seed or the Kings would cruise into the playoffs in the East? So let's take this time, two months and two days after Thanksgiving, to be thankful that the Bucks are in East, where they join the Hawks, Pacers, Nets, Bulls, Bobcats, and 76ers as legitimate playoff contenders halfway through the year.
  • Mo Williams sat out of practice with a sprained left pinkie finger yesterday but hopes to play tonight, courtesy of Charles Gardner at JS Online. Yes, pinkie.

    "It's still sore, but another day of rest, so hopefully tomorrow," Williams said. "I could tolerate shooting today, so I'll have to put it to the test. I haven't put it on the floor yet."

  • Local Watch: Guard Travis Diener played his high school ball in Fond du Lac, Wis. as a leading part of the famed Diener basketball family. After high school, he went to college at Marquette, where he teamed with Dwyane Wade to lead the Golden Eagles to the Final Four in 2003. Diener signed with the Pacers in the offseason but is delivering career lows shooting from the field (36.8 %) and from outside (30.0 %).
  • The Suns make the second most three pointers in the NBA, and Steve Nash and company showed why on Tuesday, burning the Bucks for 33 points from outside. The Pacers enter tonight's game making 8.6 three pointers per game, which ranks them fourth in the NBA. Bogut, Yi, and Villanueva must recognize that even bigger guys like Mike Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy, and Shawne Williams are threats from deep. The Pacers don't have the reputation of the Warriors or Suns for pushing the ball, but their second ranked pace places them ahead of both.
  • The Bucks racked up 23 fouls against the Suns (who just lost 117-107 to the Timberwolves) on Tuesday, and Mike D'Antoni was visibly displeased with the physical nature of the game. The Bucks would be wise to frustrate the Pacers, who rank third in the NBA in technicals, with 28. The usually frustrated Jermaine O'Neal leads the Pacers with five technicals, but has been out with a knee injury.
  • Though the Bucks are just 4-6 in their last ten, it's no fault of Andrew Bogut's. His field goal percentage is tied for the second best in the NBA in his last ten games, trailing only Andrew Bynum, who hasn't played in ten days. Bogut is shooting a sizzling 61.1 % from the field since Jan. 6, spanning ten games. Rather incredibly, Bogut has been listed first in the "Three Bucks" section of the game recaps six straight times. Not bad, Drew, not bad at all.
  • Check out the consistently excellent Indy Cornrows for more on the Pacers.