Conditioning may tell the tale in Brew City tonight when the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks each conclude a stretch of three games in three nights by tangling at Bradley Center.
The Central Division rivals, who are meeting for the first time this season, both have playoff aspirations with the Pacers holding down the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference while the hard-charging Bucks are one-half game behind New York for the eighth and final spot.
Indiana is coming off a tough 113-111 home loss to Phoenix on Friday. Danny Granger led all scorers with 28 points in that one for the Pacers, who had won four of their last six contests coming in. Roy Hibbert added 19 points and seven rebounds and Paul George tallied 15 points.
"It was frustrating," George said. "This was a game we felt like we should have won."
The Bucks, meanwhile, won for the seventh time in eight games on Friday, routing Charlotte 112-92 in the Queen City. Luc Mbah a Moute scored 20 points off the bench to lead six Milwaukee players in double figures in that one.
Drew Gooden tallied a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Dunleavy added 15 points apiece and Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings scored 13 and 12, respectively.
"We wanted to come out with a lot of energy tonight," said Mbah a Moute. "When we move and share the ball, we're a good team. We imparted our will out there and were able to get an easy win."
Milwaukee bounced back from Thursday's home loss to Boston, which snapped a six-game winning streak for the Bucks.
Indiana halted a five-game skid in Bradley Center with a 103-97 win in its last trip just over a year ago.
"We're hungry to play, we're ready to play Milwaukee," Hibbert told the Pacers' website.