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Indiana Pacers 103, Milwaukee Bucks 97: Danny Granger Leads Pacers in Strong Fourth Quarter to Win Third Straight

Paul George’s buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter put the Pacers up three points, but the game had been a traditional Bucks/Pacers affair, with both teams threatening to push the game away, but each falling short, leading credence to the recent trend of these games ending with five points…even if Milwaukee had won the last six meetings, including both this season.

Both teams shot the ball extremely well in the first half, each going for over 50% from the floor. Corey Maggette was lost early in this one, and the Pacers used it to fuel an eight point first quarter lead that had evaporated to just three at the end of the quarter. Neither team held more than a four-point lead in the second quarter, one that continued to mar the Pacers when it came to turnovers. The Pacers committed 12 in the first half alone, Darren Collison with four to really leave the door open for Milwaukee, who were getting beat on the glass.

Indiana matched Milwaukee basket for basket in the third quarter, never allowing them to lead despite the Bucks tying it up four times. George’s three pointer at the buzzer put Indiana up, but when you begin a fourth quarter missing your first seven shots, you’re setting yourself up for another letdown.

As was the case, however, Milwaukee ran with their starters through much of the second half, which helped Indiana’s cause. Despite the struggles, which did lead to six Paul George free throw attempts (though only converting three), Indiana was struggling with their second unit, where Milwaukee was having trouble lifting off in the fourth with their starters.

Luc Mbah a Moute put the Bucks up for the first time in the second half, but George’s ability to get to the line helped minimize all of the damage Milwaukee could’ve put on Indiana. Once the Pacers got their starters back on the floor, they were finally able to break the game wide open. Danny Granger hit the first field goal of the quarter, a three pointer five minutes in that pushed the game to four points, which Indiana used to fuel a 14-0 run that put the game on ice.

A combination of Bucks fatigue and improved Pacers defense held the Bucks to just 2-16 shooting through the first ten minutes of the quarter. In addition, the Pacers helped themselves weather each push the Bucks made by drastically improving their ball control, limiting themselves to four turnovers before Milwaukee made a final push in the final two minutes.

After the jump, no trap game here:

  • Danny Granger led the way with 30 points on 15 shots, once again playing himself an efficient game. He was able to take over in the fourth quarter for Indiana, and scored 14 of his 30 in the fourth quarter. Over the past eight games, he’s become far more reliant on driving the ball and getting to the foul line. He had 13 attempts tonight, but also benefits from better shot selection, hitting four of six three point attempts. When Frank Vogel said Danny doesn’t take bad shots anymore, he wasn’t kidding.
  • Darren Collison finished the night with 22 points, but his four first half turnovers are a bit of a black eye on that. Fortunately, he was able to get his handles under him and had zero TOs in the second half. It was a bad/good game for DC, who despite good showing offensively, struggled defensively, especially in containing Earl Boykins, who seemed to get around Collison on every possession.
  • Paul George played a rather anonymous eight minutes in the first half, not like we’ve come to expect from him, but really tried to take the game over in the second half. He succeeded in attempting, managing to get to the line constantly, but failed to convert his shots at the charity stripe. He played a great game defensively in the second half, however; Keyon Dooling had a nightmare of a time trying to shake George as the second half progressed.
  • Roy Hibbert had a quiet, but wildly effective night, finishing with a line of 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Hibbert played a solid game, however, not only on the offensive end, but did a great job disrupting Andrew Bogut from getting into any kind of rhythm. Limiting Bogut helped the Pacers out moving forward, and a lot of that goes to the big fella for making a stand.
  • In a game where all ten players reached the scoreboard, it proved to be a solid, albeit ugly, performance from the team. The positive sign that Indiana’s second unit remained effective enough to keep pace with the Bucks really showcased itself when the team didn’t flinch against Milwaukee’s starters in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The team continues to win despite not playing perfect basketball, but it’s great to see they’ve, at least for the time being, found consistency in winning games against teams even in the standings with them.

This win puts Indiana on their second three-game winning streak of the season, immediately after they had their four game streak snapped this past Tuesday. More than that, Indiana has now won three of their last four games on the road, where they had won just a single game in their previous 15 attempts. The Pacers managed to keep focused and stayed away from a potential trap game in looking forward to their showdown on Tuesday against the Miami Heat, where the Pacers will look to win the season series at home.