Bucks grab 6th straight win, 98-94 over Pacers
Jerry Stackhouse tied his season high with 20 points and the Bucks survived a late rally from the short-handed Indiana Pacers for a 98-94 victory Sunday, their sixth straight win.
Skiles earlier Sunday called this a “trap game,” before the Bucks closed out a strong week at home that included wins over Cleveland (without LeBron James), Boston and Utah.
“Overall, we had a good defensive game, but not in the fourth quarter,” Skiles said. “They took it to us pretty good and we had difficulty stopping them.”
For the first half and most of the second, Skiles had little reason for concern. But with an 89-77 lead and 5:37 left to play, it was all Pacers, especially on the boards.
“(The Bucks) weren’t getting any offensive rebounds,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “We were getting stops, and they weren’t getting any offensive rebounds. We persisted.”
Andrew Bogut added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and John Salmons had 12 points for the Bucks, who won their 12th of the last 13.
Luke Ridnour scored 13 points for Milwaukee, which came in six games over .500 for the first time this season. It’s the latest they’ve been six over since they were 38-32 on March 28, 2002.
Milwaukee held a huge rebounding advantage at the half. Fourteen of their 34 boards were on the offensive end, which they cashed in for 23 points, while Indiana only had one offensive board. But after both teams had a quiet third quarter on the boards, the Pacers attacked in the fourth and almost stole the game.
Trailing 89-77 with six minutes left, Indiana used an 11-3 run down the stretch and Solomon Jones off the bench to put a scare in the Bucks.
“The game was never over, if you think about it,” Brandon Jennings said after scoring eight points. “Four minutes to go, and we’re only up 12. Twelve went to eight, and they really got back to it.”
Rookie A.J. Price capped the surge with a pair of free throws that pulled Indiana within 92-88 with 3:30 left. On the Bucks’ next possession, Salmons was tied up on a drive and the Pacers got the tip, but Indiana turned it over. Carlos Delfino sank two free throws before Jones scored on a putback.
Bogut took Jennings’ eighth assist of the game and dunked for a six-point lead. Two baskets by Jones cut it to two, but Danny Granger missed with a chance to tie. After a scramble for the ball, Salmons was fouled and sank two free throws for the final margin.
The Bucks won all four games against the Pacers, their first sweep since winning all six during the 1981-82 season.
Granger scored 14 of his 29 points in the third quarter. Indiana was without point guard T.J. Ford and swingman Mike Dunleavy. Ford is expected to miss seven to 10 days with a sore left groin and Dunleavy is day-to-day with a right eye contusion.
Earl Watson scored 15 points and Troy Murphy added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who have lost six of seven, 13 of 16 overall and eight straight on the road. They came in allowing 120 or more points in four of their last six away from home.
Stackhouse, who signed with the Bucks as a free agent on Jan. 18, was 7 of 13 from the floor, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. He had 11 points in the first half, including three 3s, then tied his season high with seven points in the fourth. His 3-pointer with 8:07 to play gave Milwaukee an 86-69 lead.
“Coming off a big win like we had against Utah, we ran our starters a little long,” Stackhouse said. “You are obviously going to have a little bit of a letdown, but I thought the bench came in and picked us up a little bit today.”
The Bucks’ reserves outscored their counterparts on Indiana, 46-17.
Leading 49-41, the Bucks slowly pulled away from the Pacers in the third quarter behind eight points each from Bogut and Salmons. Milwaukee led 76-62 heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Ford injured his groin early in the first quarter of the Pacers’ 122-103 loss to the Celtics in Boston on Friday night. ... The Bucks had held 14 of their last 21 opponents under 90 points. ... It was the Bucks’ 500th win at the Bradley Center and seventh straight at home.