Back Home: Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks Preview

How you gonna be on a pit crew and not have any thumbs smh

Danny Granger sure was important. A year removed from being the three-seed in the East, the Indiana Pacers (3-5) are struggling without their All-Star forward who will be out the next three months due to Patellar tendonitis in his left knee.

And it’s not like the Pacers are struggling against good teams, either. Their three wins were at Toronto and home against Sacramento and Washington. Plan a parade! And their five losses were against Charlotte, San Antonio, Atlanta, Minnesota and Toronto. Not exactly Murderer’s Row.

After a three-game losing streak, Pacer’s head coach Frank Vogel attempted to fix the situation by taking Sam “Old-man Face” Young out of rotation, and replacing him with Lance Stephenson. This ended the losing streak, but didn’t help the team avoid last night’s 72-74 loss at Toronto. The Raptors scored 5 points in the fourth quarter (five!) and they still won. The Pacers got open shots, they just couldn’t convert, shooting 10-for-38 (26.3 percent) in the second half and 5-for-24 (20.8) in the fourth quarter. For the game, the Pacers shot a gentleman’s 32 percent.

Let’s hope that this “unable to make a basket” trend continues tonight in Milwaukee.

Choose the Form of the Destroyer

When Paul George entered the league in 2010 he was 6’8. After a summer growth spurt, he is now 6’10 and the Pacers main offensive weapon with Granger sidelined. George has played decently this season, playing 39 minutes per game and averaging 12.9/8.5/3.5 on 40% shooting.

His shooting percentages, like almost everyone’s on the Pacers, need to improve. But it’s his limited trips to the free throw line that are hurting the team. One of Granger’s biggest talents was getting to the line (he has been around the 4.7-6.9 FTA range his entire career). George this season is averaging only 1.7 FTA a game. That’s way too low for a player who plays nearly 40mpg and is supposed to be the Pacer’s main offensive weapon.

The Bucks will need to prevent him from getting to the line and force other Pacers to take control of the offense.

Matchup of the Game

Roy Hibbert vs. Samuel Dalembert

Roy Hibbert is another Pacer who just hasn’t been bringing it this year. The 2012 All-Star is shooting 37.8 percent from the field. Yikes. When that’s broken down further, he’s shooting 49 percent in the restricted area, 25 percent (!!) in the paint and 38 percent from mid-range, according to NBA.com. Dalembert will need to keep Hibbert facing the basket and pressure him into taking inefficient jumpshots.

And just for extra Pacer fan misery, Hibbert has a defensive rebounding percentage of 13.2 percent. To put that into perspective, Larry Sanders is grabbing defensive rebounds at a percentage of 31.8. Larry for MVP!

Ekpe Udoh Larry Sanders All-Star Watch

I’m back! And boy oh boy is Larry being an All-Star.

This stud is showing so much promise that it’s almost sickening. Through the first six games, Sanders is rebounding at elite levels, blocking everything that’s near him and shooting 65 percent from the field and 72 percent from the restricted area. He’s still fouling like a hit-man, but, really, who cares. He’s been on the receiving end of many questionable calls and he’s trying insanely hard. Give him a break. Come on. Just do it.

Also, we now know through Sanders’ Twitter that his favorite movie is The Sandlot. Could he possibly get any greater?! Also, also, hopefully this doesn’t happen again tonight. Stay in control, Larry!

For Ian’s sake, Ekpe Udoh did play well on Monday. He brushed off his rebounding funk, grabbing 4 defensive rebounds, which doubled his season total. Onwards and upwards young Udoh.

Aaaaaaaand speaking of All-Stars, the ballot was released yesterday. The Bucks have four players on the ballot (Dalembert, Ilyasova, Ellis, Jennings). VOTE OR DIE.

Prediction

The Bucks win and prove that the division title is a three-team race: 97 – 91

Categories: Game Previews

Jon Hartzell is a writer/producer at NBA.com who likes the Bucks.

15 Comments

  1. Guess which player this article is about … “It seems unlikely he’ll be back before December and it is fathomable he could be out through the remainder of 2012 since the goal is for him to get to 100 percent.”

  2. Let’s clarify this: “Let’s hope that this “unable to make a basket” trend continues (for the Pacers) tonight in Milwaukee.”

    Sanders & Dunleavy will be charged up for the battle with Pacers. Just hope that they come out the winners this round! Triple doubles for them both!

    Me thinks that Hibbert is going to have to work a little harder this year against this Bucks team…and for that I am most grateful.

    LOVE that Bango Pit Crew Photo. I’m pumped…Go Bucks!

  3. 2nite scares me a bit, I think it’s too early in the season to call something a trap game but this is what it feels like to me. Bucks do not matchup well with the Pacers on paper even with Granger out of the lineup thankfully the game is played on the court not on paper but I would not be surprised if they get the L 2nite

    • that west/ilyasova matchup is a defensive nightmare for us. Ghostface Ilya is going to have to break out of this shooting slump or i don’t see him playing more than 20 minutes tonight

    • I feel a little bit like Ted here…this is still a decent team without Granger they just havent been playing like it lately!