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Bucks end road losing streak

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Milwaukee Bucks’ road victories have been few and far between in recent seasons, and they entered Tuesday night’s game at Indiana having lost 16 in a row away from home.

But the Bucks took advantage of the Pacers’ cold shooting and 19 turnovers that led to 28 points in finding a way to end their road frustration.

Point guard Brandon Knight’s 20-foot jumper with 22.3 seconds remaining extended the Bucks lead to five points, and Milwaukee held on for an 87-81victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“The guys in our locker room have seen us give up late-game leads and not finish games on the road,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. “We have had trouble with turnovers on the road, but tonight, we turned that into a positive.”

The road victory is Milwaukee’s first since defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 130-110 on Feb. 24, 2014. It also is the Bucks’ first victory in Indianapolis since Nov. 5, 2010.

Milwaukee snapped a six-game regular-season losing streak against the Pacers.

Knight finished with a game-best 23 points and added seven rebounds to help the Bucks even their record at 2-2.

Forward Chris Copeland led Indiana with 19 points, including 18 in the second half. The Pacers fell to 1-3, losing for a third consecutive time.

Indiana shot only 39.7 percent from the field (31 of 78) and was only six of 24 from beyond the arc.

“We forced them to shoot a lot of perimeter shots, and we forced them to take them off balance,” said Bucks’ rookie Jabari Parker, who contributed 10 points, three rebounds and three steals.

Milwaukee also got 47 points from non-starters.

“This is a deep team,” Kidd said. “That second group has been playing well. But it’s food for the starters to finish the game. I really liked the way we finished down the stretch.”

A dunk by Zaza Pachulia with 7:45 remaining gave Milwaukee a 79-68 lead at a point when the Pacers were only five of 20 from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, the Bucks made five of their first nine 3-point attempts in the second half to sustain their advantage.

Indiana’s inability to protect the basketball — 19 turnovers committed during the first 45 minutes — also contributed to its second consecutive home loss. The Pacers opened the season with a home victory against Philadelphia.

“We just had a tough shooting night, but I was more disappointed in our ability to take care of the basketball,” Pavers coach Frank Vogel said. “They also bothered us at the rim. I think we were one of 10 in the paint in the first half.”

Indiana forward Larry Allen had eight points and 12 rebounds but was one of only three Pacers who made at least 50 percent of his field goal attempts (4 of 7).

“We were getting some good shots, but then you look at it and we had no points in the paint in the first quarter,” Allen said. “We were just missing shots.”

The Bucks began the second half on a 10-0 run, getting back-to-back 3-pointers from Knight and two field goals from Parker, to increase a five-point halftime lead to 53-38 with 9:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Milwaukee made eight of its first 12 third-quarter shots for a 62-45 lead, as Indiana struggled to make perimeter shots and was unable to get the ball inside to center Roy Hibbert.

But when it appeared the Bucks were about to pull away, the Pacers countered with an 11-0 run to pull to within 62-56 with 1:43 left in the third period. After three quarters, Milwaukee led 69-62. Knight had 20 points through 36 minutes, including 10 in the third period.

After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, the Pacers struggled during the remainder of the first half finishing 37.5 percent from the field in the opening 24 minutes. While Hibbert made five of seven shots before halftime, the rest of his team finished a collective 10 of 33 (30.3 percent) in the opening half.

The Bucks received 25 points from their bench in the first half, including nine from guard O.J. Mayo. Indiana’s non-starters produced only 14 first-half points.

NOTES: The Pacers continue to be hampered by early-season injuries. F David West (sprained right knee), G George Hill (bruised left knee), G C.J. Watson (bruised right foot) sat out Tuesday, but G Rodney Stuckey (sore left foot) played. … The Bucks were without F Johnny O’Bryant (right knee sprain) and F Damien Inglis (right ankle surgery). … Indiana won each of the previous four meetings with Milwaukee by an average of 11 points.

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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