Published February 22, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers took down Danny Granger's banner at Bankers Life Fieldhouse following his trade to Philadelphia.
The Pacers will move on from the Granger days when they visit the Central Division-rival Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at the Bradley Center.
Indiana made the biggest move prior to the NBA trade deadline by acquiring Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen from the 76ers in exchange for Granger, a former All-Star turned role player, and a 2015 second-round pick.
"We felt we needed to make this trade to strengthen the core unit and our bench," said Indiana president of basketball operations Larry Bird. "In Evan and Lavoy, we think we got two really good players that can help us and we look forward to what they can bring."
Turner, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft, averaged a team-best 17.4 points with 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his fourth NBA season. He will be a restricted free agent this summer and is expected to play Saturday. To make room on the roster, Indiana will release guard Orlando Johnson.
Granger, 30, has spent his entire career with Indiana, averaging 17.6 points and earning an All-Star birth in 2009. Granger is reportedly upset with the trade and is allegedly seeking a buy-out in hopes of catching on with a contender.
"We thank Danny for his eight-and-a-half seasons with us and we appreciate everything he did for us in his time here," said Bird.
The East-leading Pacers are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Miami Heat for conference supremacy and have alternated wins and losses over the past six games. In Wednesday's 104-91 loss at Minnesota, Paul George went toe-to-toe with Wolves star Kevin Love and compiled 35 points on 11-of-22 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Love, though, had 42 points and 16 boards, making 14-of-22 from the field and sinking five of his 10 3-point attempts.
"You have to give him (Love) credit. He is an extraordinary player and he played an extraordinary game tonight," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
George Hill scored 13 points and Lance Stephenson added 10 and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who have lost two straight on the road and are 15-10 as the visitor. Indiana will play two in a row at home versus the Los Angeles Lakers and Bucks next week.
After becoming the last team in the NBA to reach double digits in wins, the Bucks fell back into the loss column. They defeated Orlando on Tuesday for their 10th win of the season, then dropped a 101-90 decision to Denver two nights later.
Caron Butler led six players in double figures with 17 points, while Ersan Ilyasova added 14 to go along with 11 rebounds. Nate Wolters and John Henson both scored 12 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo and O.J. Mayo chipped in 11 points apiece for Milwaukee, which has lost five of six games.
"We just seemed like we never got into a rhythm," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "I thought every time we seemed to try to put together a little bit of a push, we just never seemed to sustain a rhythm."
The Bucks, though, stayed competitive by scoring 26 points off 16 Denver turnovers. They pulled within 78-73 at one point, but the Nuggets took over and cruised to the victory.
Milwaukee is 1-3 on a five-game homestand and just 6-22 at the Bradley Center this season. It will visit Philadelphia and Indiana in a few days.
Bucks guard Brandon Knight did not play versus the Nuggets because of a heel issue and is questionable Saturday. Knight leads the Bucks with 16.7 points and 5.0 assists.
The Bucks made a move at the trade deadline and acquired guard Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour.
Milwaukee lost the first of four meetings with Indiana back on Nov. 15 in a 104-77 road setback. Roy Hibbert and George scored 24 and 22 points, respectively, in that one for the Pacers, who have won three straight and eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams.
Indiana has lost seven of 10 and eight of its last 12 at Milwaukee.
The Central foes will close out the season series April 9.