A pair of Central Division inhabitants renew their rivalry Wednesday, as the first-place Milwaukee Bucks host the Indiana Pacers.
Milwaukee sits atop the division standings with a 4-2 record and is coming off an impressive 105-96 win at Philadelphia in which Brandon Jennings recorded a season-high 33 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Monta Ellis had 18 points, seven assists and five boards for the Bucks, who improved to 3-0 on the road this season and used a 9-0 run for a 103-93 lead with 2:45 left.
"Our pick-and-roll game was really working tonight," Jennings said. "Me and Monta were able to get into our flow a little bit quicker tonight. We were just taking what the defense gave us."
Mike Dunleavy finished with 13 points in the win. The Bucks shot 63.9 percent (23-for-36) from the field in the first half and made 51.3 percent for the game. They also outrebounded the Sixers, 48-31, and survived despite turning the ball over 23 times for 29 Philadelphia points.
Winning the war in the paint was clutch for Milwaukee, as the squad posted a 42-24 advantage against the Sixers. Meanwhile, Jennings had four steals on the night and leads the NBA with 3.50 per game.
Larry Sanders grabbed a game-high nine rebounds for a Bucks team rated first in defensive rebounding percentage at .807.
The Bucks will also host New Orleans on their quick homestand.
Indiana looks to stop a four-game road losing streak when it invades Brew City tonight, and just split a quick homestand versus Washington and Toronto.
The Pacers squeezed past the winless Wizards, 89-85, but were edged by the Raptors Tuesday by a 74-72 score. It didn't help the Pacers scored just 36 points in the first half and made 32 percent from the floor.
George Hill led the way with 18 points, Paul George had 12 and David West finished with 11 points and six rebounds for Indiana, which lost for the fourth time in five tries and used a 9-0 burst to pull within the game's final margin at 74-72.
"We got good looks at the end but it was really frustrating that we couldn't get the ball to go down," Hill said.
Indiana swept the season series with Milwaukee a season ago, 3-0, and has won five straight in the series. These two teams have split the last 12 meetings at the Bradley Center.