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Bucks 98, Pacers 94: If Indiana Falls in Milwaukee and No One Outside of the Bradley Center Can See It…

The Pacers kicked off early today, even earlier thanks to the clocks moving forward an hour. So before you know it, it’s game time. You can tell who was prepared for the time change and who wasn’t. Free Throws led the charge in the first half, but Offensive Rebounds and Field Goal Percentage looked like they had just rolled out of their bed.

The Pacers were short handed as it was announced before game time that T.J. Ford was going to miss about 7-10 days of action due to his groin injury. Then during pregame warm-ups, Mike Dunleavy suffered a right eye contusion from getting clocked with a ball in the face, causing him to miss the game. Also on the line are Milwaukee’s five game winning streak and their first chance at sweeping Indiana since the 1981-82 season.

Indiana jumped out to early 6-0 lead, but quickly relinquished that lead and wouldn’t see the lead again. The Pacers struggled extensively in the first half with shooting, and were outrebounded heavily by the Bucks, including 14-1 in offensive rebounds. The game become a perpetual wall at around 6-10 points, neither team able to push much beyond those boundaries with Milwaukee taking an eight point lead into the half.

At halftime, Danny Granger changed his last name to Determination and came out firing in the second half, generating the first 12 of Indiana’s points in the first nine minutes of the third. However, Milwaukee answered with baskets of their own, as a struggling Andrew Bogut changed his last named to Aggressive and came to life, matching all of Danny’s points, the difference being Bogut got help from his teammates, namely John Salmons. Granger did not as the Bucks began to pull a larger lead, with them leading by 14 after three.

Indiana managed to pull the game within ten in the fourth quarter, but struggled for much of the quarter to enough stops to pull the game to a manageable shot until Brandon Rush scored five straight points to pull Indiana to within six and A.J. Price cut it to four. Solomon Jones finally drew it to two on numerous plays on both sides of the floor as Indiana lined up for a last second shot with seventeen seconds remaining. Granger missed the shot, and committed a foul as Salmons iced the game at the line at the other end, ensuring Indiana's latest casualty in the loss column.

Some positives, negatives, and college talk as the Pacers fall on Championship Sunday after The Jump:

  • Indiana decimated the Bucks in free throw advantage, going making their first 25 as Milwaukee made 13 in the game. It’s nice to see the team doing work inside, even if it was those same free throws that kept them out of a one possession game at the end, missing three free throws in the fourth.

  • Speaking of advantages/disadvantages, Indiana ended up with 6 offensive rebounds in the game, with Solo pulling down 3 of them in the fourth. Where are Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough when you need them?
  • After spitting the ball up three times in the first half, the Pacers committed ten costly turnovers in the second half. That didn't help as the Pacers drew ever closer in the fourth.
  • Danny Determination spent the first quarter trying to wake up before leading the Pacers with 14 points in the third quarter, ending with 29 and 4 rebounds.
  • Roy Hibbert was not fed today, though maybe he wasn’t very hungry. Roy went 1-5 with 1 assist from the field, getting all six of his points in the first quarter.
  • A.J. Price got some extended game action, getting three assists and being active on the offensive end. He ended with four points on 1-7 shooting. Hey, at least he’s trying, right?
  • Earl Watson had a good/bad game today, drilling three deep balls and 15 points, but committing six turnovers in 32 minutes.
  • Solomon Jones saw the floor for the first time in a long time at the end of the game, and made the most of it. Solo scored nine points, and buzzed around the court with big plays on both sides of the floor, bringing Indiana back and making it a game at the end.
  • Jerry Stackhouse tapped into the Fountain of Youth, scoring a team high 20 points for the Bucks, also a season high for him.
  • As mentioned earlier, this is the first time the Bucks have swept the Pacers since 1981-82. Some streaks you just hate to see come to an end. We’re really not in a good position right now, huh?
  • So about that good position we'd like to be in? Four of the NBA’s top draft prospects saw game action in Championship Sunday. John Wall struggled from the field (5-15), but daggered Mississippi State with a crazy three pointer, finishing with 17 points and 9 assists.
  • DeMarcus Cousins tipped in the basket that forced OT for Kentucky, and hit the game winning free throw, finishing with 10 and 10.
  • Derrick Favors led Georgia Tech with 22 points on 8-14 shooting and 11 rebounds to help almost push the Jackets past Duke in a close loss.
  • Evan Turner played too late for this edition of Pacers recap, but made a few plays of note early in the first half and sure looked comfortable in the friendly confines of Conseco Fieldhouse...

So what’s next? Well, it was another spirited loss, but yet another reminder, the early start allows you to sit down and enjoy none other than Winning Time at 9 on ESPN. As for the current team, they’ll finally get the Big Ten out of their house, and host our old friend Stephen Jackson and the Bobcats on Tuesday.