Hopefully for the Indiana Pacers, struggles with the NBA's lesser teams doesn't continue. After losses to teams like Orlando, Dallas and Minnesota — two of which are sub-.500 — the team with the league's best record escaped Milwaukee Saturday night with a not-so-easy 110-100 win at the Bradley Center. Yes, against Milwaukee, a team with just 10 wins and a lowly .181 winning percentage. The Pacers never trailed, but they all but blew a 22-point lead. This can't continue with the schedule at hand. Home games loom with the lowly Lakers and these Bucks before a road game at Boston and a visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse by Utah. Opportunity awaits. "We have to take advantage of it," forward David West said. "We can't have any more slipups." The Pacers (42-13) didn't have one here because Paul George and West refused to let them. When Milwaukee closed to within a field goal at 62-60, George hit a 3-pointer. He hit another a couple of possessions later on a zipped cross-court pass from West. George scored 13 of his game-high 32 points in the third quarter as the Pacers pushed their advantage to as many 11 points. Breathing room. "He was pretty special tonight," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of George, who had five 3-pointers and was again strong defensively. West finished with 30 points as he, like George and later Lance Stephenson (17 second-half points, 24 in all), played with the offensive assertiveness that Indiana needs in the closing two months of the regular season as it works to earn the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, the Bucks are on their way to the worst record in franchise history. They are five games off the futile pace set by the 1993-94 squad, which finished 20-62. This team will need to finish at a 37 percent clip to avoid the distinction of having the worst mark. Milwaukee played spirited enough Saturday, but it was the fifth time this season that the Bucks have not led in a home game. Milwaukee played with its latest acquisition, Ramon Sessions, but Indiana did not have Andrew Bynum, who made the trip, or the two new players received in a trade with Philadelphia, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. The latter two were in Indianapolis taking physicals, Vogel said. Both are expected to be in uniform Tuesday against the Lakers. Vogel admitted the Pacers were emotionally spent after the trade of longtime teammate Danny Granger and the release of Orlando Johnson, but a Friday morning meeting pulled them back together. After what was described as a good practice Friday, Indiana started strong against the Bucks, building a 14-5 lead that swelled to 44-22 with the second unit in the second quarter.
Paul George, David West lead the way for Pacers in 110-100 win
Indianapolis Star | Feb 23