Bucks-Pacers Preview

The slumping Milwaukee Bucks have already beaten the Indiana

Pacers twice but both of those games were played on their home

floor.

For Saturday night’s matchup, the Bucks have the more daunting

task of traveling to Indianapolis, where the Pacers have won six in

a row.

Milwaukee snapped a five-game skid to Indiana with a 99-85 win

Nov. 14, and Brandon Jennings’ season-high 34 points paved the way

for a 98-93 victory Dec. 18. The Bucks, though, have lost

back-to-back games at Indiana, including a 118-109 defeat in their

only visit last season.

Milwaukee (16-15) doesn’t appear poised to snap that skid as

it’s lost a season high-tying three in a row and blew an 18-point

lead in a 115-101 home loss to Houston on Friday. The Bucks could

never recover after being outscored 30-14 in the third quarter, and

while they had seven players in double figures, Jennings was the

team leader with 16 points.

“It’s almost the second half of the season,” Jennings said.

“Teams are going to start turning it up a notch and we need to,

also.”

Milwaukee hasn’t dropped four in a row since Feb. 11-17, and

would appear to face a stiff challenge as it attempts to avoid

matching that skid. The Pacers (19-14) are on their longest home

win streak since an eight-game run Feb. 27-March 30, 2010, and have

won nine of 12 overall.

However, Indiana was also blown out 94-75 on Friday in Boston

while shooting 31.8 percent, their worst performance in two

seasons. David West was the only starter in double figures with 10

points – on 4-of-18 shooting – while Tyler Hansbrough was the only

other player to reach double digits with a season-high 19.

Hansbrough, who has a history of concussions, also survived a

flagrant foul to the face from Celtics star Kevin Garnett in the

fourth quarter.

“I took a shot in the head,” Hansbrough said. “I had to take

care of myself. I wasn’t really concerned about retaliating at the

time. I was just making sure I was OK.”

D.J. Augustin was limited to six points after totaling 35 in his

first two starts in place of an injured George Hill (groin).

“Shots just weren’t going down for us. I mean, we had a lot of

good looks. And it was just one of those games where it was just

lopsided. You know, we couldn’t get shots to go in and they were

making everything,” said swingman Paul George, who had nine points

on 4-of-18 shooting after topping 20 in back-to-back contests.

Hill, who is listed as questionable for this game, had a

team-best 18 points in the loss to Milwaukee in December, and 22 in

the last meeting in Indiana. David West had 21 points and 14

rebounds for the Pacers in that win, while Brandon Jennings (27

points) and Mike Dunleavy (23) led the way for Milwaukee.

The Bucks are the only division opponent to beat the Pacers in

Indiana’s six matchups with Central foes this season.